Plea seeking contempt action against Maharashtra officials over killing of tigress Avni withdrawn

Updated on Feb 26, 2021 12:24 PM IST

Plea seeking contempt action against Maharashtra officials over killing of tigress Avni withdrawn

On November 2, 2018, Avni was shot dead in Yavatmal(File Photo/Representative Image)
On November 2, 2018, Avni was shot dead in Yavatmal(File Photo/Representative Image)
ByAbraham Thomas, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A petition filed by a wildlife enthusiast seeking contempt of court proceedings against officials of the Maharashtra government over the manner in which a tigress, Avni, was in 2018 was withdrawn from the Supreme Court on Friday.

The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde found no ground to proceed ahead with the matter after the state government officials, who were issued notices earlier this month, told the Supreme Court that no contempt was made out as the man-eater tigress Avni killing was approved and confirmed by the top court. The tigress was killed by a team of state forest officials in November 2018.

The contempt petition filed by Sangeeta Dogra claimed that the top court had in September 2018 directed that there will be no celebration following the killing of the tigress. She presented the top court with pictures showing how the shooter who killed Avni was felicitated at a function, handed a silver statue of the tigress and villagers celebrated the moment.

The state officials in their reply told the Court that the celebration was carried out by villagers in which forest officials were not involved.

The bench, also comprising justice AS Bopanna and justice V Ramasubramanian, said, "If villagers believe that they will not be attacked again and decide to celebrate, how can the forest officials ensure that they don't celebrate."

The state officials also pointed out that the orders to kill the tigress were confirmed by the top court. The bench took these statements on record and said, "We can't review our earlier decision and say she was not a man-eater. Also, they are stating that villagers and not they had celebrated... We cannot interfere in this case."

Dogra sought permission to withdraw the petition and the same was granted.

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