High court stays shoot-at-sight order on tigeress who killed five
The court said that the department should try to tranquilize the beast before resorting to the extreme step.pune Updated: Jun 30, 2017 19:07 IST
In a surprise move, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Thursday quashed and set aside the forest department’s ‘shoot-at-sight’ order against a tigress that killed five villagers in the south Bramhapuri region of Chandrapur district.
Responding to a public interest litigation (PIL), the division bench of the high court also clarified that the life of human beings is more precious than the wildlife, but at the same time the court said that the department should try to tranquilize the beast before resorting to the extreme step. The court called in the entire record related to the tigress and found that the ‘shoot-at-sight’ order was absolutely illegal.
While quashing the forest department’s order, the court has observed that “it was passed without following the due process of law and violation of guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.”
Besides, the court expressed its concern about issuing a the order against the man-eater tiger without identifying the animal. The bench, comprising of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Rohit Deo, told the department to engage its staff, along with veterinary doctors, to tranquilize the big cat.
Petitioner Dr Jerryl Banait moved to the court after the forest department issued a shoot-at-sight order against the animal that had killed five villagers and injured three in villages of South Brahmapuri in Chandrapur district, adjacent to the famous Tadoba tiger project.
The petitioner stated that the deaths of villagers caused by the tigers was reported in reserved and buffer areas of the wildlife sanctuary where human entry is banned . It pointed out that the illegal entry of humans in the reserved jungle is a violation of Wildlife Protection Act, and urged the court to stay the order.
After issuing the order, Chandrapur forest department hired the services of expert shooter Nawab Shafat Ali Khan of Hyderabad to deal with the tigress menace.
According to reports reaching the state forest and wildlife headquarters here on Thursday, Khan had already reached Chandrapur from Hyderabad by road in his special vehicle along with his hunting team. He joined the hunting operation on Thursday morning.
“We have hired the Hyderabadi shooter as a tranquillizing expert to capture the stray tigress and not for killing it,” clarifies Vijay Shelke, the chief conservator of forests (Chandrapur circle). Khan was involved in culling around 500 wild boars in different forest areas of Chandrapur last year.
Over 150 camera traps have been laid and more than 100 forest personnel from four neighbouring forest ranges have been deployed to hunt the tigress. The tigress is said to be very aggressive and has charged thrice at the hunting team, which was tracking the beast in the forest on Thursday.
Earlier, the Chandrapur police had shot a tiger that killed seven villagers.