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Supreme Court dismisses plea by State of Kerala against High Court directive to relocate rogue elephant Arikomban

The Supreme Court has dismissed the plea by the State of Kerala against the directive of the Kerala High Court for relocating a rogue elephant nicknamed Arikomban to Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary from Idukki.

The government wanted to first capture the animal and monitor it.

“Capture, tame it and then take a call. It is habituated to rice and it is raiding homes etc..Kerala is a small state milord,” the State’s counsel argued.

However, a bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud dismissed the plea after recording that the Committee of Experts (CoE) to advise the Kerala High Court on the elephant, had recommended that the animal be released in the sanctuary.

On March 30, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court comprised of Justices AK Jayashankaran Nambiar and Gopinath P had said that capturing the elephant would do more harm than good had appointed a Committee of Experts (CoE) to advise the court on the nature and habits of the wild elephant.

The Court said that it was aware of the instances of cruelty to captive elephants in the State, and did not want to add more elephants to the long list of hapless ‘converts’ as it violated the fundamental duty under Article 51A (g) of our Constitution to protect wildlife and have compassion for living creatures.

The bench said that the objective should be to strike a balance between the conflicting interests of the residents of the localities concerned and the elephants in the area.

Hence, it asked CoE to examine whether there are alternative options to prevent the elephant in question from causing disturbances in human settlements.

Accordingly, on April 5, based on the CoE recommendations, the High Court had directed that the Elephant be transferred to to Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary in Palakkad district.

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