Arm forest officers to tackle poachers, CJI SA Bobde tells states


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday sought a report from state governments on the steps taken to make sure security of forest officials in areas infamous for poaching.

A bench of the highest court docket questioned how unarmed forest officers can shield India’s forests in opposition to closely armed poachers.

“Law enforcement officials can at the very least name for assist; forest officers can’t,” Chief Justice of India SA Bobde noticed throughout a listening to on an software that alleged that forest officers are harassed by submitting of counter-cases in opposition to them.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan flagged the problem by citing the instance of circumstances filed just lately in Mt Abu police station in Sirohi district of Rajasthan, in addition to some in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, in opposition to forest officers as a counter to their actions in opposition to poachers.

The bench stayed the Rajasthan circumstances in the interim. “It isn’t acceptable at this stage to enter the reality of the allegations and to determine what truly transpired within the cases dropped at our discover,” the bench stated.

Citing knowledge, Divan stated that 31% of the assaults on forest officers happen in India.

The CJI identified that whereas in Assam forest officers are armed and feared, in different states reminiscent of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra, they’re armed with simply lathis, undermining their means to “shield the forests unarmed”.

He expressed concern over the hazard and helplessness forest officers face throughout the course of defending natural world.

“We have no idea what steps are being taken by different states/Union Territories the place this poaching is rampant, for cover of the forests and the lives of the forest officers and workers,” the CJI stated. “It’s tough to think about how any legislation might be enforced by the forest officers and workers who’re poorly unarmed in opposition to poachers who’re prone to be closely armed.” “We’re of the view that the scenario is critical and we discover it tough to understand how these forest officers and workers could be able to guard the setting and the forests that are usually huge tracts of uninhabited land and of which poachers take undue benefit for finishing up their nefarious actions.”

The CJI sought a report from all states and UTs on what steps have been taken to guard forest officers in areas identified for poaching and steps proposed to guard the forests and the lives of forest officers and workers.

The bench adjourned additional listening to within the case for 4 weeks.

These stories could also be submitted by the house secretary of the respective states/UTs, it stated.

Rahul Chitnis, counsel for Maharashtra, denied that state forest officers are usually not armed. He stated officers above a specific rank carry arms.

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