Source: Agencies20 Jun 2016 13:43:38

New Delhi, June 20: Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay order of central government allowing killing of nilgai, wild boar in Bihar and monkey in Himachal Pradesh and wild boar in Uttrakhand. Notification for permission to kill the animals in the three states on the ground that they were danger to human life and harming crops, were issued by the Centre earlier.

Last year on December 1, Ministry of environment and forest had declared nilgai and wild boar as vermin in Bihar through a notification and granted permission for their culling for one year. Then on February 2 this year, the Ministry allowed culling of wild boar in Uttrakhand while killing of rhesus macaque monkey in Himachal Pradesh was allowed by the Centre on May 24. Once declared vermin (harmful to human, crops, farm animals or carrier of diseases), an animal is deprived of the protection under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Challenging the Constitutional validity of Section 62 of the Act, which empowers the Centre to declare a protected animal as vermin, petitioner Gauri Maulekhi contended that the provision is illegal as it conferred excessive and arbitrary powers on the government to permit mindless slaughter of protected animals without holding any inquiry.

Senior advocates Anand Grover and Siddharth Luthra appearing for the petitioners pleaded the court to intervene as the decision for culling was taken without conducting any study on the danger posed by the animals to human habitat.

A bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel refused to pass any interim order but agreed to hear animal rights activist plea after vacation and posted it on July 15. The bench, however, allowed the activists to make a representation to the Central government and asked UOI to consider their grievances within two weeks.

"Open hunting of one of the species will lower inhibitions and provoke locals and hunters to engage in hunting of other animals resulting in indiscriminate killings" the petitioners argued. It also alleges that the Centre is ignoring the fact that both nilgai and wild boar are indicator prey species. "In the absence of these prey animals, predatory species will be forced to enter human-dominated landscape ...nilgai and wild boar also help disperse seeds of various endemic species of trees thereby sustaining the health of forests," they added.