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Farmers Move Kerala High Court Seeking To Declare Wild Boar As 'Vermin' Under Wildlife Protection Act

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
1 Nov 2020 7:54 AM GMT
Farmers Move Kerala High Court Seeking To Declare Wild Boar As Vermin Under Wildlife Protection Act
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A group of farmers, who are continuously affected by the attacks of wild boars on their farm produces, have filed a writ petition in the High Court of Kerala seeking to declare the animal as a "vermin" as per Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.The petitioners point out that "wild boar" is at present a wild animal included in Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act....

A group of farmers, who are continuously affected by the attacks of wild boars on their farm produces, have filed a writ petition in the High Court of Kerala seeking to declare the animal as a "vermin" as per Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The petitioners point out that "wild boar" is at present a wild animal included in Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act. Therefore, attacking or killing the animal, even for the protection of farmlands or properties, can expose a person to criminal prosecution under the Act. Because of this provision, the farmers are not able to do anything to protect their crops from wild boars without risking criminal punishment.

The petitioners are six farmers who hail from the eastern regions of Kozhikode district which witness frequent inroads by wild boars. To tackle the menace, their petition filed through Advocate Amal Darshan put forths a remedy - under Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, the Central Government can declare certain wild animals as "vermins" which may be killed, like rats, mice,crows, fruit bats etc.

"Once this declaration is notified, the farmers are permitted to snare/trap and kill the intruding wild boars during the prescribed period. This helps the farmers to save their crops and thereby their livelihoods. Thus the growing population of wild boars could also be kept under control", the petition states.

However, for such a declaration to be made by the Central Government, the State Government has to send a proposal. The petitioners state that they are aggrieved by the fact that the State Government has not taken expeditious steps to forward the proposal to the Central Government. Although the State Board for Wildlife has recommended the declaration of 'wild boar' as vermin under Section 62, the State Department of Forests and Wildlife is not taking expeditious steps to forward the proposal to the Union Ministry, state the petitioners.

In recognition of the growing problem, the State Government had in May issued a notification under Section 11(1)(b) to delegate the power of killing wild boars from Chief Wild Life Warden to a panel consisting persons with licensed guns in each panchayat with the strict conditions imposed. According to the petitioners, this would not yield any benefit to the farmers who are affected by the attack of wild boars for the reason that they are prevented from setting traps to the wild boars who normally come in groups to eat/damage the crops during midnight or early morning. The petitioners further contend that in most of the panchayats, the panel is yet to be constituted and in those places where it is constituted, the persons included are most often unwilling to kill a wild boar as they are required to shoot the wild boars observing several procedures and conditions, some of which are cumbersome and impractical.

The petitioners argue that the "lethargy and the inaction" of the authorities in taking steps to declare wild boar as "vermin" are violating their Fundamental Rightd, more specifically their Right to Livelihood, through agricultural activities. 

A single bench of the High Court has sought the response of the State Government on the plea.




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