The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought response from the Maharashtra government on a plea claiming that tigress Avni, shot dead by a civilian hunter at Ralegaon in November 2018, was not a man-eater.
The top court also demanded answers on the aspect of the reward given for killing of the animal.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V.Ramasubramanian decided to examine a plea by activist Sangeeta Dogra and asked her to prove her claim that human remains were not found in the animal’s autopsy.
Avni, the tigress, was believed to have killed 13 villagers and in November 2018, she was shot dead near Borati village in Yavatmal by a team of Forest Department officials and a civilian hunter.
Avni, also known officially as T1, was killed after a massive hunt involving 200 paragliders, infrared cameras, and Calvin Klein fragrances.
The incident occurred after three months, Supreme Court allowed authorities to shoot the animal, if tranquilizers didn’t work. Dogra moved the top court seeking action against those involved in the killing of the animal.
The petitioner submitted before the bench that human remains were not found in the autopsy of the animal. The bench also asked the petitioner, how could post report establish that the animal was a man-eater or not? Dogra replied that a man-eater would have nails and hair in the intestine for six months, but her stomach was empty.
Dogra argued that hunters were also illegally rewarded for killing her. The bench noted that the authorities flouted orders that they shall not reward anyone who kills (the tigress). The bench said it will issue notice in the matter, as the reward was a clear violation.
Dogra alleged that state authorities organized a function after the hunt, during which a silver idol of a tigress was handed to the civilian hunter.
The incident triggered outrage among wildlife activists, who queried why no efforts were made to tranquilize Avni, instead she was killed in cold blood. After a hearing in the matter, the top court sought reply from Maharashtra government and its forest authorities on Dogra’s petition.