The Centre claimed in the Supreme Court on Thursday that a tiger at Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh died due to intestinal infection, not COVID-19 virus, as per the postmortem report.
The top court said the Centre has however decided to constitute a committee to ascertain the exact reason of the death of tiger.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices R Subhash Reddy and AS Bopanna, which heard the matter through video conferencing, allowed petitioner Sangeeta Dogra to appear in person in the matter and posted it for hearing on August 26.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that the kind of language in the counter affidavit filed by the petitioner is appalling as it said that we acted in collusion with authorities concerned.
The bench said it may be because the petitioner is very passionate about animal welfare.
Mr Mehta said the government is also very concerned about animal welfare but the tiger died due to intestine infection and not due to COVID-19.
The bench said it is satisfied with the steps taken so far and cannot venture into the larger issues at the moment as the government is saying it will form a committee to look into matter further.
Dogra said that submission of the government is not in conformity with the RTI reply and the area of the death of the Tiger was declared as a containment zone.
She said the tiger had nose discharge and breathing issues and the officials around it were quarantined.
The bench said there are a lot of other important issues involved in it and would hear it after four weeks.
The CJI recalled his days as Madhya Pradesh High Court chief justice and said that he used to hear a lot of matters related to tigers including case related to one feline called "Ustaad".
Dogra in her plea challenged the Delhi High Court's May 8 order which dismissed her plea seeking directions to the Centre to involve veterinarians to help prevent spread of coronavirus between humans and animals.
The high court said the governments were taking all necessary steps and dismissed the plea which claimed that forest officials "incorrectly diagnosed" the cause of tiger's death as it was based on "speculation" and not on examination by a virologist or an epidemiologist.
The forest officials and the government had denied that the tiger was infected with COVID-19 or coronavirus and had claimed that it died as it had a football sized hairball inside it and as a result could not eat.
The plea contended that since the feline died near a water body which is frequented by other animals in the reserve, the forest officials ought to have tested it for presence of any virus as recently in Chennai viral RNA samples were allegedly found in sewage samples collected from some water treatment plants.
The petition had further contended that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had on April 23 released a report stating that COVID-19 virus has been detected in sewage systems.
WHO has also cautioned that since viral particles have been found in sewage, as a precautionary measure wastewater should be well managed, the petition had claimed.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)