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SC Says Worried About Attacks on Rangers May Order Provide Weapons | India News


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday raised concerns about attacks on rangers by poachers and armed smugglers, saying it could pass orders to provide firearms, bulletproof vests and helmets to officials to ensure their safety.
The bank headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said forest officials are facing “force majeure and smuggling is diverting millions of dollars.”
“The ED (Directorate of Execution) should be tied down. It should have a separate wildlife wing. These are all proceeds of crime,” said the court, which was also composed of judges AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
The higher court was hearing provisional applications filed in a 25-year PIL from a TN Godavarman Thirumulpad.
It took note of statements by chief defender Shyam Divan that India accounts for 38% of attacks against forest officials.
The lead counsel referred to cases of attacks on rangers in the forests of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
“Brutal attacks are carried out against the rangers. They even go against them,” he said.
“When we go to Assam, (we see) they give them weapons, while in Maharashtra they only give them ‘lathi’,” the bank said.
The court said it would approve an order on the matter after Attorney General Tushar Mehta, Divan and attorney ADN Rao make statements on how these rangers can be protected.
“We will direct that officials receive weapons, bulletproof vests and helmets. In Karnataka, forest officials are seen wandering in ‘chappals’ and poachers slap them. Personnel will be handed over …” the bank noted at first.
The court, in its order, recorded the presentations on attacks on rangers in different states and the presentation of false cases as a counterattack to dissuade them from fulfilling their duties.
“It is difficult to understand how forestry officials will be protected in a vast expanse of land where poachers take advantage to carry out nefarious activities. It is difficult to understand how forestry officials who are unarmed can enforce a law against hunters. poachers who are heavily armed, “he said.
The court postponed the hearing for four weeks and said it would approve orders after noting the statements of the interested lawyers.
During the hearing, he said that forest officials cannot even call for help in distress in the forest when attacked by poachers.
As in a city, the police can call for help, there should be some mechanisms, he said.
“We need to check all these crimes. Last month I was in a forest in Maharashtra and saw that the forest officials weren’t even armed. How will they protect themselves when they are attacked? SG, we want you to explore all the possibilities. These are sophisticated crimes out there. to control, ”observed the CJI.
Divan pointed to the cases brought against forest officials and the attacks in Rajasthan and Maharashtra, urging the court to ask the states to explain what has been done in such cases.
“We will pass some orders. The population may not be much, but the area is much larger than any city and town. The states have to adjust the department of the interior,” he said.

Times of India