Plea in Supreme Court Seeks to Stop Snares & Traps Against Wildlife, Stresses On Kerala Elephant Tragedy

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On Saturday, the petitioner filed a petition in Supreme Court. The petition challenged the usage of cruel means to defend against the wild animals. They filed the petition after looking into the matter of the pregnant elephant’s death. This tragic incident took place in Kerala.

The plea claims that these ways to defend ourselves from wild animals are illegal and cruel. The plea seeks the creation of (SOP) Standard Operating Procedure to reduce such cases. The plea further states that it’ll also fill up the vacancies in Forest Forces.

Brief Facts of the Case

A tragic incident happened on 27th May 2020. A pregnant elephant ate a pineapple filled with crackers and lost her life. The native people left the pineapple on purpose to keep the wild bores at bay. This is because these wild bores enter into people’s property and cause destruction and injury. The elephant’s jaw and tongue were exploded in such a bad way leading to a very painful death. Advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma filed the plea on behalf of Advocate Shubham Awasthi.

Petitioner’s Arguments

The plea states, that there is a “Failure to drop abusive treatment meted out to animals by non-State actors. It violates not only the most basic rights of animals but also violates their basic dignity as a living being.”

The plea further throws light on the cruelty inflicted upon the elephants in India. It is very different from how the people used to treat elephants in ancient times. The plea mentions the Arthashastra and states, “No one could imagine an army without elephants leading the charge. Chanakya, author of Arthashastra, laid down rules for the King to protect elephants. He said that whoever killed an elephant would be put to death. They even had to be fed if they were incapacitated by war, old age or illness.”

Analysis of the Plea

The plea criticizes the practice of cracker filled food kept for wild animals. The blame is on the Forest Department of India as it has failed in the protection of wildlife. It is due to the scarcity of staff and scientific measures. “The Forest Forces in almost every State of India face shortages. They have to work for longer periods of duty due to such shortages. This results in not so effective monitoring of zones for which they are responsible. The various States need to step up with recruitment and see to the fullest implementation of the Wildlife Protection Act.”

Further, the plea refers to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The plea also referred to Article 51-A (g) under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Elephant Preservation act, 1879 was also referred. The plea said these acts should be followed by all means. These cruel ways should not be used by the native people.

Request to the Court

The plea requests the Court to see if guidelines are issued for animal welfare by the state of affairs. It is said that, “If they try to defeat the welfare legislation and Constitutional principles, the Court should not hesitate to strike them down to achieve the ultimate object and purpose of the welfare legislation. Court also has a duty under the doctrine parens patriae to take care of the rights of animals. They are to take care of themselves against human beings.”

Prayer

1. The Petition seeks the Court to declare these practices as illegal and unconstitutional. It violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

2. Plea seeks the Court to make amendments in Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The Court must also make strict punishments to avoid such incidents in future.

3. The plea further seeks the that the Forest Forces should fill the vacancies. Also there should be the issuance of guidelines for SOP creation so that these deaths and incidents could be dealt with more sincerity. Also, scientific means should be adopted to prevent animal-human conflicts.

4. The plea prays that the media should handle such news with more sincerity. Otherwise, it can cause many issues in society. A specific authority should maintain the data of animal deaths. To end fake news, this authority will release the information.


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