The Himachal Pradesh High Court on 19 April 2016 issued notice to the Union and State governments on the issue of declaring monkeys as vermin for six months in the Shimla Municipal Corporation's jurisdiction.
Monkey being vermin means anyone can kill monkeys anywhere in the state capital without official permission. This would lead to drastic decline in the simian population.
The bench further directed the Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, the state chief secretary and the national board of wildlife's member-secretary to file their replies within six weeks.
The notice was issued by a division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan while hearing a plea in this regard filed by animal activist Rajeshwar Singh Negi.
What does plea said?
• In his plea, Negi had challenged the Union Government notification of 14 March 2016.
• In March 14 notification Union allowed State government’s request to declare monkey as vermin for six months in Shimla municipal jurisdiction.
• The request was allowed because of destruction to property and crops caused by the monkeys in Shimla.
• He argued that the notification disregarded a Constitutional mandate about securing wildlife and the environment and the right to life ensured by Article 21 of the Constitution, which extends to animals as well.
• The petitioner also pleaded that killing monkeys for violent behaviour was not a solution to the problem. Instead, a substantial scientific method could be used to deal with them.
• Monkey became the third species to be declared vermin after Wild Boars and Nilgai in the State.
• In January 2011, the high court had put on hold the permission granted to farmers to shoot monkeys. The stay is still in force.
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Who: Himachal High Court
When: 19 April 2016