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Elephants electrocuted to death: Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, 17 states

The petitioners, represented by Advocate Kartik Shukul, submitted that there has been an alarming rise in the unnatural deaths of elephants reported, especially due to electrocution.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre and 17 states in a petition filed demanding the strict implementation of guidelines of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to prevent the death of elephants across the country due to electrocution.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli issued notice in the case. The petitioners, represented by Advocate Kartik Shukul, submitted that there has been an alarming rise in the unnatural deaths of elephants reported, especially due to electrocution.

As per the data given by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
between 2009-2019, the death toll of elephants died due to electrocution across the country stand at 600, including 116 deaths in Karnataka, 117 in Odisha and 105 in Assam.

Moreover, the Elephant Task Force’s 2010 report Gajah also recognised one of the most common cause of the death of elephants to be deliberate and accidental electrocution.

The petition mentioned that the recent data submitted in the Lok Sabha by the MoEF&CC shows that there has been a steady rise in these numbers from 56 electrocution deaths in 2016-17 to 81 deaths in 2018-19.

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Moreover, in response to an RTI filed, the MoEF has responded that from 2009 to 2020, in total 741 elephants have died due to electrocution.

The MoEF&CC data showed that many states have also reported a decline in electrocution over the past few years. Especially after the intervention of the Karnataka High Court, the data shows that Karnataka has fared slightly better in this as the deaths dropped to single digits in recent years.

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