A plea against Maharashtra officials for rewarding people who had killed an alleged 'man-eater' tigress ‘Avni’ in Yavatmal district in 2018 was withdrawn after the Supreme Court closed the case and informed that the killing was approved by the top court.
During the hearing conducted through video conferencing, the bench told the animal rights activist Sangeeta Dogra that the state government in its reply has said that the decision to kill the man-eating tigress was approved by this Court.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, which had earlier issued a notice for initiating contempt action Maharashtra principal secretary Vikas Kharge and eight others, permitted Dogra to withdraw her plea.
“We cannot say that the tigress was not a man-eater and review the earlier decision of the court,” the bench said, adding that if the villagers celebrated that they were relieved by the killing then how it can be taken note of by the authorities.
Dogra, appearing in person, said that correct facts were not put before the court.
The bench said that how it can look into the case if the tigress was killed as per the proper procedures.
It said that officers have stated on oath that they did not celebrate after the killing of the tigress.
The bench told Dogra, “Bring a better case to us. We cannot entertain this. Next time you come in advance so that we can help you. Either you withdraw it or we will dismiss it”.
Dogra said she would withdraw the case.
On February 10, the top court had issued a notice on the plea seeking contempt action against Kharge and eight others for rewarding people who had killed an alleged 'man-eater' tigress.
Dogra had claimed that the tigress was not a man-eater as was evident from the post-mortem report of the animal.
On November 2, 2018, tigress ‘Avni’ or T1, as she was known officially, believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 13 people in Maharashtra in two years, was shot dead in Yavatmal district of the state.
"Avni was shot dead by sharp-shooter Asgar Ali, son of famous sharp-shooter Nawab Shafat Ali, at compartment no 149 of Borati forest under the jurisdiction of the Ralegaon police station," a police official had said at that time.
The forest department has claimed that the six-year-old tigress T1, along with two of her nine-month-old cubs, have consumed 60 percent of a human corpse, which has led it to declare her a 'man-eater'.
On September 11, 2018, the top court had refused to interfere with the Bombay High Court decision and said the forest department would be bound by their own order to tranquillize her first and, in case of failure, shoot her.
“The cubs of T-1 tigress will be tranquilized and shifted to the Rescue centre. The efforts to tranquilize and capture T-1 tigress will be continued and if unsuccessful, it shall be eliminated by shooting to avoid any further loss of human life,” the top court had said.
It had said Chief Conservator of Forests, Yavatmal is authorized to carry out the above order but “he shall not declare any prize or any similar incentive for the responsible person.”
(With PTI inputs.)