The Calcutta High Court recently observed that the senseless killing of animals in the wild for pleasure and in a purported show of false prowess is as heinous and culpable a crime as the offence of murder under Indian Penal Code.

“…senseless killing of animals in the wild for pleasure and in purported show of false prowess is in our opinion, as heinous and culpable a crime as the offence of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The animals in the forests do not interfere with the lives of human beings as long as they are left alone to live their lives in their natural surroundings.”, Justice Arijit Banerjee and Justice Apurba Sinha Ray noted.

The Court added that wild animals don’t have a voice to vent their pain and agony which they suffer by reason of the torture they are subjected to.

The Court made this observation while dealing with a contempt application filed for alleged wilful violation of a judgment passed by the Court in a plea alleging killing of wild animals by hunters from Tribal and Non-tribal communities, especially during “Shikar Utsavs”.

The Court had directed the Principle Chief Conservator of Forests, Wild Life, to take immediate steps in the matter for effective prevention of atrocities against wildlife during Ritualistic Hunting Festivals.

Senior Advocate Siddhartha Mitra appearing for the petitioners submitted that a lot of deliberations have taken place on the issue of protecting the wild life but nothing effective has been done.

Advocate Sirsanya Bandopadhyay appeared for the State.

The Court noted that it is of utmost importance that the environment, the forest and the wild life at large are protected and preserved.

Thus the Court constituted a committee called the “Humane Committee” at the District level for 5 Districts which shall take steps for protection and preservation of the animals in the forest and to see that the animals are not killed indiscriminately whether during Hunting Festivals or otherwise.

The petitioner suggested certain measures which the committee may take. The Court found those suggestions to be reasonable endorsed the same. However, the Court said that the committee shall apply its mind independently and decide what other steps can be taken in this regard.

“We are keeping this contempt application pending as we intend to supervise and keep track of how the Committee is functioning and also for the purpose of passing further orders as may be necessary for effective implementation of the judgment and order dated April 18, 2019. Let the matter be listed once again on March 30, 2023,…”, the Court held.

Cause Title- Human & Environment Alliance League & Anr. v. Debal Ray, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Ors.

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