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Monkey meance: Himachal HC issues notice to Centre, state govt

Monkey meance: Himachal HC issues notice to Centre, state govt

The HP High Court today issued notices to the Centre and the state government on a petition seeking quashing of a notification issued by the Union Environment and Forest Ministry declaring monkey as vermin in the Shimla municipal area.

The court has refused to stay the notification and directed the Union Secretary, Environment, Forest and Climate Change; the state Chief Secretary, and the Member Secretary of the National Board of Wildlife to file their replies within six weeks and listed the matter for the further hearing on May 3.A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan passed the orders on a petition filed by Rajeshwar Singh Negi.
The Union Environment Ministry notification, which followed several requests from the Himachal Pradesh authorities, cited the rising cases of monkeys destroying property, including crops, and biting people. Such a move will allow the state authorities to carry out extermination of monkeys on a large scale without attracting penal provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
As per the notification issued by the Union Ministry on March 14, it had declared the Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) to be vermin and to be included in Schedule V of the Act, for six months from the date of issue of the notification, in the Shimla Municipal Corporation Area limits, excluding the forest areas.
Monkeys are a protected species under Schedule II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. But if any wild animal poses danger to human life or property (including standing crops on any land), or is so disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery, the law allows for its killing.The petitioner pleaded that killing monkeys for creating violence are not the solution; instead, any substantial scientific method can be used to deal with them.
The petitioner said as a result of the notification, anyone could kill monkeys anywhere in Shimla without official permission and it would lead to a decline in the simian population.

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