Tigress Avni
Tigress Avni
File Photo

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice on a plea seeking contempt action against Maharashtra principal secretary Vikas Kharge and eight others for rewarding people who had killed an alleged 'man-eater' tigress 'Avni' in Yavatmal district in 2018.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian was told by animal rights activist Sangeeta Dogra that the tigress was not a man-eater as was evident from the post-mortem report of the animal.

"Issue notice returnable within two weeks. In the meantime, necessary documents will be filed," the bench said.

During the hearing, the bench asked Dogra as to how one can identify from the post-mortem whether the animal was a man-eater or not. Dogra replied that if an animal is a man-eater it could be ascertained from the DNA reports, hair and nails remains in the intestines, which last for more than six months.

"The tigress which was killed, her stomach was empty," she claimed. She said that forest officials of the state ordered the killing of 'Avni' on the plea that it had killed 13 persons in the area and was a man-eater.

"The killers of tigress were awarded by the state and there was celebration, which was in violation of the top court's order", Dogra said.

The bench said that it cannot control celebration but it can issue notice if people were rewarded flouting the Supreme Court order.

The top court also asked Dogra to file additional documents to substantiate her claim that the tigress was not a man-eater and said, "We want clear finding that the tigress was not a man-eater and reports on nails, hairs and teeth".

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.

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