Under Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, a group of six farmers who hails from eastern regions of Kozhikode district through their Counsel Advocate Amal Darshan have filed a writ petition in the Kerala Court seeking to declare the wild boar as ‘Vermin’. The petition is filed after the wild boars attack continuously on their farmlands damaging crops and farm produces.
Including Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, the ‘wild boar’ is a wild animal at present. And killing or attacking the animal whatsoever the reason can led to criminal prosecution under the Act. The petitioners said that because of this provision, the farmers are not able to protect their crops from wild boars.
A plea is heard by single bench of the High court has sought the response of the State Government.
The petitioners aggrieved by the fact that the state Government has not taken expeditious steps to forward the proposal of declaring wild boar as ‘vermin’ to the central government. And the petitioners also stated that “Although the state board of wildlife has recommended the declaration of wild boar as vermin under Section 62 of the State Department of forests and wildlife is not taking expeditious steps to forward the proposal to the Union Ministry.”
While, the Kerala Government has recognised the problem growing widely in May and had issued a notification under Section 11(1)(b) to delegate the power of killing wild boars from ‘Chief Wild Life warden’ to a panel consisting persons with licensed guns in each panchayat with the strict conditions imposed.
But, according to the petitioners the panel is not yet constituted in many panchayats and in few places where it is constituted, the persons included are most often unwilling to kill a wild boar as they are required to shoot the wild boars observing several procedures and conditions, some of which are cumbersome and impractical. Further, the State Notification has not yield any benefit to the farmers who are affected by the attack of wild boars till date damaging the crops by coming in groups to eat during midnight or early morning.
The petitioners contended that the ‘lethargy and the inaction’ of the authorities in taking steps to declare wild boar as ‘vermin’ are violating their fundamental rights through agricultural activities.
**Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 : The Central Government may, by notification, declare any wild animal other than those specified in Schedule I and Part II of Schedule II to be ‘Vermin’ for any area and for such period as may be specified therein and so long as such notification is in force.
“VERMINS” – Schedule V of the Act contains a list of animal species which may be killed like rats, crows, mice, fruit bats, foxes, etc.