HC gives green signal for translocating deer from city to forest areas

HC gives green signal for translocating deer from city to forest areas

Legal CorrespondentCHENNAI 21 DECEMBER 2019 02:30 ISTUPDATED: 21 DECEMBER 2019 01:24 IST

Forest Dept. told to frame guidelines
The Madras High Court on Friday permitted the Forest Department to translocate spotted deer found in and around Raj Bhavan, Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campuses in the city to nearby forest areas with a rider that officials should first frame guidelines for scientifically trapping the animals.
Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and N. Seshasayee issued the direction on a public interest litigation petition filed by S. Muralidharan. In his petition, he had claimed that unscientific means adopted by officials to capture the animals, using nets, would force the deer to run helter skelter and suffer injuries or even lose their lives in road accidents.
Multiple deaths
Though the litigant’s counsel S.P. Chockalingam had also objected to translocation per se, the judges turned down that plea after Additional Government Pleader S.V. Vijay Prashanth claimed that 497 spotted deer had died in the city in the last five years due to electric lines, stray dogs, pollution, solid waste intake, drinking sewage water and road accidents.
The judges concurred with the Forest Department that the deer were basically wild animals and would easily adapt to their natural environment the moment they were let loose in the forest. They also recorded the submission of the department that its officials would monitor the activities of the deer in the forest to find out whether they had managed to get integrated.
Authoring the judgment, Justice Sathyanarayanan expressed concern over the Guindy Park Reserve Forest, originally spread over 513.75 hectares in the heart of the city, having shrunk to half its size now due to allocation of pieces of land for establishment of various institutions such as IIT, CLRI and so on. “This court expresses its anguish over the shrinking of forest cover and natural habitat for wild animals despite the fact that laws are in place to meet any eventuality,” the order read.
“As usual, there is no strict implementation of those laws and regulations. The offenders are let scot-free on account of improper implementation of the provisions. It is also highly doubtful whether the officials, who are enforcing the laws/rules/regulations, are even aware of all the provisions of the same. It is high time that periodical training is imparted to them on launching criminal prosecution against offenders and for qualitative investigation of cases so that it acts as a deterrent to offenders,” the Bench said.
Expressing surprise over the absence of statutory or executive instructions with respect to the methodology to be adopted while capturing the deer, the judges did their own research and collected materials with respect to the different modes adopted in other countries and listed out those methodologies in their judgement. They directed the State Forest Department to go through the material and come up with suitable guidelines.

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