New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine a plea raising the issue of killing of elephants, especially in Kerala.
The plea has specifically cited the killing of a pregnant elephant in Kerala after she was fed a pineapple stuffed with explosives in May this year and sought a court-monitored CBI probe into the matter.
The plea filed by advocate Avadh Bihari Kaushik submitted that the Indian elephant is one of three extant recognised subspecies of the Asian elephant, native to mainland Asia.
"All the efforts made by the Central and state governments are failing for the simple reason that the poachers and killers are more committed to their job as compared to the agencies appointed to nab them and, therefore, the incidents like the present one are repeatedly occurring," said the plea.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde sought response from the Centre on the plea. The plea urged the top court to issue direction to transfer the FIR registered in the pregnant elephant's killing case, or in any other similar case elsewhere, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the constant monitoring of the top court.
The plea cited the data provided by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau in January, 2019 in response to an RTI that as many as 429 elephants were poached and killed in the country since 2008 and 642 poachers were arrested.
The maximum killings of 136 elephants have been reported from Kerala, followed by West Bengal (48), Karnataka (46), Tamil Nadu (44) and Odisha (41) during the period from 2008 to 2018, according to the data.
However, as per unconfirmed data, more than 100 elephants are killed in Kerala alone every year. As per the statements made by the locals, at least 17 elephants have been brutally killed in or around the Silent Valley National Park in Mannarkkad district of Kerala in the last one year, said the plea.
The petitioner urged the apex court to issue directions to place on record all the cases regarding killing of the elephants in Kerala and in other parts of the country, including Karnataka, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam.