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Crime, Police And Law

PIL In Supreme Court Seeks CBI/SIT Probe After Elephant Death in Kerala: Claims To Be A Well-Calculated And Organized Killing Racket [READ PETITION]

By Parth Thummar      09 June, 2020 09:30 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Elephant Death Kerala

A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court on June 06, 2020, calling for an investigation monitored by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the recent killing of a pregnant elephant and "deep-rooted menace of killing elephants" in the state of Kerala. The PIL has been filed by Avadh Bihari Kaushik, Advocate-on-Record, and petitioner-in-person.

Through this PIL, the petitioner in larger Public Interest tries to bring to the notice of the Hon’ble Court a horrific, tragic, brutal, cruel and inhumane act of some villagers committed near Silent Valley National Park in Mannarkkad district of the state of Kerala where a pregnant elephant has been killed by them by feeding her a pineapple stuffed with highly powerful and explosive firecrackers. It was submitted that as per the version of the forest officers published in various print and electronic media (‘media’), this incident came to be noticed on May 27, 2020, when the elephant was found standing in Velliyar River in Palakkad District of Kerala and ultimately, she drowned and died in the river water itself. It has widely been reported in the media that the wild elephant strayed into a village near Silent Valley National Park in south Kerala state when it ate the rigged fruit, believed to be a pineapple, which exploded and severely injured her mouth.

It had come to light in the post-mortem report that the elephant could not eat or drink anything for nearly two weeks before her death. The post-mortem report also confirmed that major wounds and injuries were caused in the oral cavity (mouth) of the pregnant elephant as a result of the explosive blast of the firecrackers. This resulted in excruciating pain and distress in the region and prevented the giant animal from taking food and water for nearly two weeks. The post-mortem also disclosed that ‘drowning, followed by inhalation of water leading to lung failure’ was the immediate cause of death of the female elephant. The petition also draws attention to a similar incident last April 2020, where the female elephant had met the same fate. 

In that regard, the petitioner claimed in the petition that the menace appears to be deep-rooted, huge and serious and, prima facie, it appears to be a well-calculated and organized killing racket to kill the giant animal. He further submits that the authorities concerned/respondents herein have failed to prevent such killing of the protected animals despite the laws in place and therefore, it has become necessary that a Court Monitored investigation of the above two cases of killings of elephants, as noted above, as also of other similar cases, being reported from time to time from various other states, is directed by the Hon’ble Court to be conducted through the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or/ alternatively, the investigation is directed to be conducted by a Special Investigating Team (SIT) consisting of experts from various departments and agencies headed by a retired Judge of the Hon’ble Court. Such SIT, besides investigating the cases of the illegal and brutal killing of elephants, should also be required to examine the entire issue on a larger scale and to suggest requisite steps to be taken to curb the menace.

On the very same day the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Zone, Chennai had taken suo motu cognizance of the same incident. Cognizance of the matter was taken by a bench of Justice K Ramakrishnan, Judicial Member, and Saibal Dasgupta, Expert Member. 

The NGT bench had noted that it was aware of the action taken by the Forest Department and also at Government level including the Central Government, but it had taken up this case for making an effort to avoid such things in future and also for providing some long term strategy to minimize man-animal conflict in wildlife area or fringe village adjoining the forest area. “There arises a substantial question of the environment which requires the interference of this Tribunal to resolve this issue at least in future”, the Bench had noted. 




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