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Supreme Court issues Notice on PIL seeking Court intervention on Elephant deaths

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NATURE ELEPHANT LAW INSIDER

Mitali Palnitkar

Published On: January 05, 2022 at 19:51 IST

Notice issued by Supreme Court in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed which sought the intervention of Court in the matter of elephant deaths due to electrocution.

The Bench comprised of Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli. Advocate Kartik Shukul represented the Petitioners.

The Petitioners sought to bring the reality of elephant deaths before the Court. They submitted that the there was a rise in the number of unnatural deaths of elephants which were primarily due to electrocution.

The Petition stated that the Elephant Task Force’s 2010 report ‘Gajah’ highlighted the deaths of elephants due to electrocution as one of the most common causes of elephant deaths in India. In the data collected by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC); it shows that 333/510 elephant deaths were caused by electrocution between 2014-15 and 2018-19.

Advocate Abhikalp Pratap Singh had filed the Petition which sought certain reliefs and directions such as effective implementation of ‘Gajah’ report of 2010 and the recommendations of the Task Force as accepted by Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife; directing the Respondents that is Centre and States to insulate the high voltage power transmission lines passing through protected areas like Wildlife Sanctuaries and Elephant Reserves, discontinuing use of electric fencing around protected areas; and laying new power transmission lines within the protected areas.

By presenting the data submitted by MoEF&CC, the Petitioners showed the increase in elephant deaths of electrocution – from 56 in 2016-17 to 81 in 2018-19. Also, 741 elephants had died due to electrocution from 2009-2020.

The Petitioners argued that the non-implementation of Statutory mandates, guidelines and recommendations of the expert bodies and Supreme Court Orders by the Respondents had led to augmented deaths of the elephants due to electrocution. The Plea stated, “In doing this, the Respondents have collectively failed in their obligations and duties of the protection of wildlife.”