Supreme Court Refuses To 'Interfere' After Kerala Challenges High Court Order To Relocate Rogue Tusker

Swarajya Staff

Apr 18, 2023, 01:44 PM | Updated 01:44 PM IST

An elephant in the forest (Photo by KAITHEP SAINUI)
An elephant in the forest (Photo by KAITHEP SAINUI)

The Supreme Court rejected Kerala's plea against a High Court order to relocate a destructive elephant named Arikompan, on 17 April 2023.

The state must capture, radio-collar, and move the rogue elephant to Muthuvarachal in the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve.

A bench led by the Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud allowed a hearing after the state's urgent mention, and said the High Court ruling was based on a report from an expert committee of state officers.

“The State is challenging the recommendations of its own officers… The High Court order is well thought out… We will not interfere,” Chief Justice Chandrachud said.

The state said it needed time to capture and figure out what to do with the wild tusker as the High Court mandated its translocation to a tiger reserve.

“But to relocate the elephant, you will first have to capture it. So, what is the problem?” Chief Justice Chandrachud asked.

The state cited Kerala's "small" size and the proximity of human settlements to the reserve. The creature's rice addiction was highlighted and relocation predicted by the state to have little impact.

The expert committee was constituted by the High Court to look into the human-elephant conflict in Kerala.

The High Court recommended as the "best possible situation" radio-collaring and translocating the wild tusker to the reserve, after reviewing the committee report.

The state had contended in the High Court that the Chief Wildlife Warden had to decide finally whether the elephant should be moved or kept confined.

As many as 105 persons have been killed in Kerala in the last five years as a result of wild elephant attacks.

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