The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay a notification that allows the culling of nilgais, wild boars in Bihar and Uttarakhand and monkeys in Himachal Pradesh. A bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, however, said the matter would be taken up on July 15, and activists could approach the Central government with their concerns, Gauri Maulekhi,petitioner and animal rights activist, told The Hindu.
Last week, senior advocates Anand Grover pleaded the court to intervene as the Centre, according to a report by PTI, did not have the power to take such decisions.
Since 2015, the Environment Ministry had acceded to requests from Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Bihar to declare wild boar, rhesus macaque, and nilgai as vermin within specified territories of these States, and outside forests and protected areas. This reprieve means that those who kill these animals here will, for a year after these notifications come into effect, not be subjected to jail terms and fines that hunting these animals typically invite.
Wildlife laws also consider hunted wildlife as ‘government property’ and impose restrictions on how these carcasses must be disposed. Once slotted as vermin, these animals, in the words of a wildlife conservationist, are “open season” and could become easy game for hunters as well as traders in meat.