Ban Use Of Explosives To Keep Off Animals, Says Plea In Supreme Court

Ban Use Of Explosives To Keep Off Animals, Says Plea In Supreme CourtElephants in Bannerghatta National Park ( Bannerghatta Biological Park Website)

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Central and Kerala governments on a plea challenging the practice of using barbaric means such as explosives, snares etc as means to ward off animals, especially against the backdrop of death of an elephant in Kerala.

The plea, filed by Shubha Awasthi through advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma, contended that the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 prohibits the killing, poaching, trapping, poisoning, or harming in any other way, of any wild animal or bird.

It cited that on May 27, a pregnant elephant succumbed to injuries caused by the eating of a pineapple filled with crackers which was left by the villagers to ward off wild animals straying into the area which included their fields/property. It was also reported that this was not an isolated incident as another elephant had died due to similar circumstances in Kerala.

"Failure to eliminate de jure (formal) and de facto (substantive) abusive treatment meted out to animals by non-state actors, either directly or indirectly, violates not only the most basic rights of animals, but also violates their basic dignity as a living being as envisaged internationally, in our Constitution, and the guiding principles of every dominant religion or society in India," the plea contended.

The petitioner has sought the top court issue directions declaring the practice of using barbaric means such as explosives, snares etc as illegal and unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14 and 21.

The plea also sought directions to Centre and state governments to make necessary amendments in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and making the punishments more stringent.

"Direct the Central/state governments to fill the vacancies in Forest Forces; issue guidelines for the creation of a Standard Operating Procedure among states across the Union to deal with such incidents and deaths of animals due to accidents and usage of scientific means when such conflict arises and to achieve the goals of mitigating animal-human conflicts," said the plea.

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