A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a Court Monitored CBI or a Special Investigating Team (SIT) probe into the recent death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala reportedly due to accidental consumption of a firecracker-stuffed pineapple meant as a trap for wild boars.
The petition has been filed by Advocate Avadh Bihari Kaushik and seeks the intervention of the Top Court for the "horrific, tragic, brutal, cruel and inhumane act of some villagers committed near Silent Valley National Park in Mannarkkad district of the state of Kerala".
While highlighting that the incident is not the first of its kind, the petitioner goes on to state that the said incident has brought on surface, an earlier similar incident wherein another female elephant had met with similar fate in April 2020 in Kollam district of Kerala. The plea states,
"It is submitted that these are two incidents brought into public domain but 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."
In light of this, it is averred that that since "authorities concerned/respondents have failed to prevent such killing of the protected animals despite the laws in place", a Court monitored investigation of the above cases through the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or alternatively a Special Investigating Team (SIT) probe becomes imperative.
"....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 this 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 this Hon'ble Court" - Excerpt of Plea
Furthermore, Kaushik has contended that Forest Officials have stated that investigation into animal killings is very tough, in as much as it is "difficult to gather information in such incidents and locating the place where the wild animals meet with such fate is not easy", an SIT consisting of experts from relevant departments is important to curb the "illegal and brutal killing of elephants".
The plea emphasises on the the fact irreparable loss and injury has been caused to wildlife and also to the public at large and that the elephant is a protected wildlife animal listed at item No. 12-B in the name of 'Indian Elephant (Elephas maximus)' in scheduled-I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and as such killing thereof as also trade in its any of the articles/organs is punishable offence.
The petition further states that the Supreme Court should interfere in the matter and set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the instances of elephant killings throughout the country in order to avoid such incidents in the future.
On June 6, the National Green Tribunal has registered a suo motu case regarding the incident of a pregnant elephant killed in Silent Valley Forest in Kerala.
The Tribunal presided by Justice K. Ramakrishnan observed that these things are happening probably due to various aspects of not following the norms for protecting the wild animals in the forest exposing them to have conflict with human, thereby their lives were put to danger.
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