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Chua Ram Miri (Saikia) v. Commissioner of Plains Division, Assam - (High Court of Gauhati) (21 Mar 1968)

Drawing distinction between human and animal life



Poaching and hunting animals for game has witnessed only a gradual build up in public ire. Animal life is rarely seen as equatable to human life, and ills caused to animals are not the same those perpetrated on humans. Gauhati High Court in a case involving a gun licence concluded as much in 1968. Hearing a case about the revocation of a licence to own a firearm for it being used to hunt animals, the court drew a clear line between “public peace” and “public security” and acts injuring wildlife: “‘Public peace’ or ‘Public safety’ relate to the peace and safety of the people and do not appertain to animal life”. The licence holder, simply suspected of poaching in the Kaziranga Game Sanctuary could therefore not be deprived of his licence to possess a firearm. Perhaps attitudes to violence towards an already fragile ecosystem today would illicit a different response. Or maybe discharging a firearm in any public place would supersede even that.

Relevant : Section 17 Arms Act, 1959


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