New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday agreed to hear a plea which has raised the issue of killing of elephants in Kerala, including the one in which a pregnant animal had died after being fed pineapple stuffed with explosives in May this year.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde issued notices and sought responses from the Centre, Kerala government and others on the plea which has said that animals too have fundamental right to life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and this has been wildly violated in these cases.
The plea, filed by advocate Avadh Bihari Kaushik, has referred to the incident which came into light on May 27 this year when a pregnant elephant was found standing in Velliyar river in Kerala's Palakkad district and later the animal drowned and died in the river.
The petition said it was later found that a pineapple stuffed with highly powerful and explosive firecracker was fed to the pregnant elephant.
Referring to a media report, the plea has claimed that the injured elephant was first spotted by the villagers on May 25 and it was reported to the forest officers but no proper and timely medical aid and treatment could be provided to the animal.
It alleged that some local wildlife activists and others have disclosed that as many as 17 elephants have been killed in that area during last one year.
In his plea, Kaushik has said that another female elephant had met with similar fate in April this year in Kollam district in Kerala.
It is submitted that though only two cases reported above have been brought to public domain but the menace appears to be deep rooted, huge and serious and prima facie, it appears to be a well calculated and organised killing racket to kill the giant animal, it said.
It has sought that probe in these incidents and similar cases, if any, in other states of the country be transferred to CBI and it should be conducted under the constant monitoring of the apex court.
It has also sought constitution of a special investigating team headed by a retired apex court judge to probe into the cases of killing of elephants and also suggest a proper mechanism to curb this menace and to nab and punish the culprits to avoid such incidents in future.
The bench, which issued notice on the plea, has tagged it with another pending petition which has raised issue related to killing of animals.