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Leopard’s death can’t be taken lightly: HC

HC takes cognisance of news report on Forest Department’s negligence

The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court on Thursday took suo motu cognisance of a news report on the Forest Department’s negligence, which led to the death of a leopard. “This cannot be taken lightly,” the court said.

Justice Ravindra Ghuge was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation based on a news article published in a supplement of of Dainik Lokmat on April 15.

The court said the news report pertains to the alleged callousness, negligence and lack of sensitivity by Forest Department employees who were capturing a leopard at village Thergaon, taluka Paithan, Aurangabad district, resulting in its death.

The court said, the news report indicates that the leopard could not be tranquilised by darts and was captured in a net. After this there was no need to tranquilise it, but it was still done. To rehabilitate the leopard in natural surroundings, Forest Department employees carried it to the Gautala forest area on Aurangabad-Kannad road.

However, the leopard was found to have died before its release into natural surroundings, and it was therefore subjected to a post-mortem. Veterinary expert Dr. Vijay Rahate noticed that some of the employees had stepped on the leopard’s neck in their attempt to immobilise it and this had caused asphyxiation, leading to its death.

The court remarked, “This incident cannot be taken lightly,” and appointed advocate Chaitanya V. Dharurkar as an amicus curiae.

The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation was made a party so that its veterinary doctors could provide their expertise in the case, the Bench said.

The court also directed the Municipal Commissioner to take all the documents and photographs in connection with the leopard’s death from the chief conservator of forests Prakash Mahajan.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 12:59:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/leopards-death-cant-be-taken-lightly-hc/article31360798.ece

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