The vacation Bench of the Supreme Court of India today, has agreed to examine the constitutional Validity of S.62 of Wild Life Protection Act 1972 which empowers the Central Government to declare any wild animal to be a vermin and empowers the Central Government to remove any wild animal from the protection of the Act.
The Petition filed by Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre through Advocate Aparna Bhat was mentioned by Senior Advocate Anand Grover before the bench comprising of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and L Nageswara Rao. The Bench has directed to post the Petition on 20th June 2016.
Section 62 of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972 permits the declaration of protected wild animals as vermin upon the discretion of the Central Government. According to the Petitioner, this power is arbitrary, unfettered, mandates no following of any procedure and no protocol is made as to the dead bodies of these animals which can be used by traders to fuel the wildlife trade.
“Section 62 is general, unfettered, absolute and arbitrary. There is no accountability that is allocated to any authority and the unchecked killing of animals is permitted. However, Section 11 (1) (b) allocates authority with the Chief Wildlife Warden who must substantiate the killing of each animal and show that other options of rehabilitation or conflict resolution have first been tried. Moreover, there is accountability for each animal thus killed and possibility of misuse is minimized. Furthermore, Section 11 (1)(b) clearly envisages the possible threat of animals to “standing crops on any land.” With this lesser invasive and safer provision available in the the WPA, 1972 there was no justification for invoking Section 62 at all. Furthermore, it is a settled principle of law that in an Act where there is a specific provision it prevails over a general one”.
The Petitioner also challenges the following Notifications issued by Union of India to allow killing of wild boar in Uttarakhand, culling of nilgai, wild boar in Bihar and rhesus macaque monkey in Himachal Pradesh.
The Petitioner prayed for the following reliefs;
a) Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction to declare Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 to be unconstitutional and violative of Article 14, 21 and 51A of the Constitution of India.
b) issue an appropriate writ, order or direction quashing / setting aside the Notification bearing No. F.No.1-64/2015-WL-I dated 01.12.2015 being illegal, ultra vires and unconstitutional;
c) issue an appropriate writ, order or direction quashing / setting aside the Notification bearing No.F.No.1-26/2015-WL-I dated 03.02.2016 being illegal, ultra vires and unconstitutional;
d) issue an appropriate writ, order or direct
Read the petition here.