In the case of Sabu M Jacob v Union of India Sabu M. Jacob, the Chief Coordinator of the nonprofit Twenty-20 Association and the Managing Director of Kitex Garments filed a public interest lawsuit (PIL) to have the rogue elephant Arikomban returned to Kerala. The PIL also called for the use of scientific procedures that inflict the least amount of trauma when rehabilitating and translocating the tusker after it has been captured and tranquillized.
The pachyderm has been foraging into the Chinnakanal region in Kerala’s Idukki district, causing harm to the property in the human settlement areas, it was contended in the plea. A radio collar was placed on Arikkomban and he was then relocated to the Periyar Tiger Reserve on April 29. The Tamil Nadu Forest Department then issued an order to tranquillize, capture, and translocate the elephant to the deep forest area of Villaimalai after receiving information that the elephant had come dangerously close to human settlements in Tamil Nadu. They further claimed that because the tusker wandered into Tamil Nadu’s human settlements after being relocated to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, no real solution to the problem had been achieved. It was further said that numerous vehicles were wrecked and three people suffered injuries while attempting to flee the tusker.
Contention from parties
The petitioner emphasised that the case was brought after the Tamil Nadu Forest Department issued a directive to tranquillize and capture the elephant to move it to Villaimalai, a deep forest area. Additionally, they stated that while he is not against tranquillizing and capturing Arikomban, he is opposed to moving the elephant to a man-made setting. He added that it was clear from media images that the elephant’s trunk was seriously hurt and had weakened as a result of the lack of access to drinking water. Therefore, the petitioner requested instructions to the relevant authorities to use the greatest care and caution to avoid endangering the tusker’s health when employing tranquillizers.
Analysis of court Decree
The Tamil Nadu government has stated that it will take Arikomban to the deep forest, thus the petitioner’s argument that the tusker must be brought back to Kerala is immaterial, according to the Kerala High Court’s division bench of Justices Alexander Thomas and C Jayachandran.
The petitioner was further questioned by the bench on whether he had any evidence that Tamil Nadu residents were mistreating animals. The bench expressed its opinion that the petitioner lacked factual averments and had no legitimate basis for his or her claims in this regard. Therefore, a request to return a wild animal to Kerala was denied by the Kerala High Court.