Madhya Pradesh HC Dismisses Plea Challenging Ban On 'Snake Charming' [Read Order]

Madhya Pradesh HC Dismisses Plea Challenging Ban On Snake Charming [Read Order]

“[The Petitioner] has not been able to establish that the community in question inherits and inheres fundamental right to practice the profession of snake charming or to carry it out as an occupation."

The Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissed a petition filed by a member of a 'snake charming' community challenging the Constitutional validity of Section 9 and 11 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972.

Mahaveer Nath had approached the Gwalior Bench of the High court contending that he is deprived to carry out the vocation of snake charming for their livelihood. According to him, old traditional occupation and vocation by the members of Nath/Sapera community has been abruptly put to an end by prohibiting the keeping of snakes. He also submitted that the community lives in cluster in the remote area adjoining city of Gwalior and are dependent on snake showing for their livelihood.

Section 9 prohibits hunting of any wild animal specified in Schedule I, II, III & IV. Section 11 and 12 empowers the Chief Wild Life Warden, if he is satisfied that any wild animal, specified in Schedule I, II, III and IV, has become dangerous to human life or is so disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery, by order in writing and stating reasons therefor, permit any person to hunt such animal or cause such animal to be hunted.

The bench comprising Justice Sanjay Yadav and Justice Vivek Agarwal observed that the petitioner has failed to bring on record any authentic information as would establish that except 'snake charming', the Nath community has no other source of livelihood. The court said:

"[The Petitioner] has not been able to establish that the community in question inherits and inheres fundamental right to practice the profession of snake charming or to carry it out as an occupation. Besides, the right conferred under Article 19(1)(g) of Constitution is not an absolute right but is liable to be restricted under clause (6) of Article 19 which envisage."

Dismissing his plea, the bench observed that mere hardship cannot be a ground for striking down a valid legislation.

Read Order