Bombay high court stays Maharashtra rule that lets farmers kill Nilgais
The government resolution was issued by the Forests Department purportedly to lay down the procedure to grant temporary licenses to agriculturists to hunt certain wild animals like the Nilgai and wild boars, to save their crops.mumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2016 01:06 IST
The Bombay high court last week stayed a state government order granting deemed permission to hunt certain wild animals, which purportedly resulted in the killing of more than 300 Nilgai or blue bulls in the Satara district in the past six months.
“This deeming clause is too dangerous,” said a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and justice MS Sonak, while commenting on clause 2 of a Government Resolution issued on July 22, 2015.
The government resolution was issued by the Forests Department purportedly to lay down the procedure to grant temporary licenses to agriculturists to hunt certain wild animals like the Nilgai and wild boars, to save their crops.
The clause said an aggrieved famer can submit an application to the Range Forest Officer and allowed the deemed permission to kill the animals if the application was not specifically rejected or the rejection is not communicated to the applicant within 24 hours of submitting it.
Pune resident Jamshid Dalal, who also has agricultural lands in Mahabaleshwar area, brought the issue of how granting such permission was leading to the indiscriminate killing of wild animals through a public interest litigation. Dalal said the clause went directly against the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
His PIL also pointed out section 11 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, allowed the Chief Wildlife Warden to grant permission to hunt certain categories of wild animals if they caused a loss to agricultural crops. Dalal said the section mandates that only the Chief Wildlife Warden can grant permission to hunt certain wild animals and that too only after recording reasons. This means the grant of deemed permissions, that too by a much junior officer like a Range Forest Officer, was an arbitrary exercise that went against the statutory mandate.
Dalal’s counsel, advocate Dormaan Dala, pointed out more than 300 Nilgai were killed in the Mahabaleshwar region alone during the past six months, after these permissions came into place.
Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani, howeverm said the government resolution merely provides for a procedure to grant hunting permissions where wild animals cause loss to agricultural crops, and applications are directed to the Range Forest Officer as he is the highest wildlife officer available locally and who is also able to take stock of ground situation and accordingly grant or reject the permissions.
The judges, however, found the deeming provision “too dangerous” and stayed its operation.