Animal rights activists and NGOs who had approached the Supreme Court with a plea for quashing three notifications of Centre declaring Nilgais, Monkeys and boars as vermins was asked by the apex court bench today to approach the Delhi High Court on the issue.
A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A M Khanwilkar said the High Court had the jurisdiction and could decide the issue at hand.
Senior Advocate K K Venugopal said the three notifications by the Centre related to the states of Bihar, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and the apex court should hear the pleas.
“Delhi High Court very much has the jurisdiction and it can decide the issue. You move the High Court for the relief”, the bench said.
The bench then granted liberty to the petitioners, animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi and NGOs - Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre and Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) to withdraw their plea.
On june 20, the apex court had refused to stay an environment ministry notification that allowed the culling of nilgais, wild boars in Bihar and Uttarakhand and monkeys in Himachal Pradesh.
A vacation bench of justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and A M Khaniwilkar however asked the animal rights organisations to make representations before the Centre regarding three notifications declaring Nilgais, monkeys and wild boars as vermins and said the petition will be taken up for hearing on July 15. Animal Welfare Board of India had termed the notification as an “arbitrary decision”.
Vermins are animals harmful to crops or carry a disease.
Petitioners questioned the notifications issued by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change declaring these animals as vermins for one year in the states of Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
“The arbitrariness is there. We have seen the video. There has to be a basis. How can the Ministry do this? There has to be compassion towards animals”, the lawyer appearing for the board told a vacation bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and A M Khanwilkar.
Responding to the query, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, who appeared for one of the petitioners, referred to killing of Nilgais in Bihar and said there are scientific ways to deal with such situations. Wild animals cannot be killed like this. The first notification issued by the Ministry dated December 1, 2015, declared Nilgai and wild boar as vermin in some districts of Bihar for one year.
The second notification dated February 3 this year declared wild boar as vermin in some districts of Uttarakhand for a period of one year, while the third notification, issued on May 24 declared rhesus macaque (monkey) to be vermin in some districts of Himachal Pradesh.