Ensure steps taken for redressal of Human-Wildlife conflict are
implemented: Kerala High Court (India)
September 22, 2022
The Kerala High directed the respondents to ensure that the steps taken for
redressing the issues related to Human – Wildlife conflict be implemented
by the State Government and the Forest Officials in its letter and spirit.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly
disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Joseph Tajet, the
Parliamentary party leader of the opposition parties and is also an
Advocate practicing in Thrissur District.
The reliefs sought for by the petitioner in the writ petition are as
i. Issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or
direction commanding the respondents to take effective measures to control
the Human Elephant Conflicts within the territorial jurisdiction of
respondents within a time frame to be fixed by the High Court.
ii. Direct the respondents to frame appropriate guidelines/criteria for the
protection of Human life in the areas sharing boundaries with forest in the
According to the petitioner, due to the constant attacks of wild elephants,
agricultural crops are destroyed and their livelihood is lost and life
becomes unbearable. In addition to the same, it is contended that the
people in the said area are in a state of panic after elephants raided the
habitable residential areas in Varandarappilly Panchayat and in fact,
killed two plantation workers in recent days.
It is also pointed out that in the last few years, six people have been
killed in wild elephant attacks in the area, and agricultural produce and
properties worth millions were lost. Therefore, according to the
petitioner, if the State Government is not taking appropriate action in
order to prevent the wild animals encroaching into the residential and
agricultural areas, the residents of the locality would be put to serious
prejudice, untold miseries and irreparable injuries. In that view of the
matter, making Elephant Proof Trenches (EPT) and electric fencing are the
only ways to protect this.
It is also submitted that in spite of the earnest efforts made by the
petitioner and the others, the respondents have not taken any action so as
to ventilate the grievances of the petitioner.
Petitioner has also produced various news reports with respect to the
elephant attack and the consequences occurred thereto. Therefore,
petitioner seeks direction to the State Government to make Elephant Proof
Trenches and electric fencing through the entire stretch in order to
protect the life and interest of the people residing in the area in
The Divisional Forest Officer, Chalakudy has filed a very detailed counter
affidavit refuting the allegations raised by the petitioner. It is also
submitted that the averments made in the writ petition are exaggerated.
However, it is stated that there have been incidents of human – elephant
conflicts in Chalakudy, Thrissur, Vazhachal and Malayattoor Forest
Divisions and Peechi Wildlife Division. But it is stated that taking into
account the said aspects and the destruction of the agricultural produce of
the residents of the area in question, action is initiated which is
described in detail in the counter affidavit.
Therefore, according to the Government, all possible effective initiatives
and steps are taken by the State for redressing the issues related to Human
– Wildlife conflict in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of
Environment and Forest, Union of India, New Delhi.
That apart, it is submitted that further proposals of Special Rapid
Response Team and Solar Fencing along State Highway with crossing points
for elephants have been submitted by the Chalakudy Forest Division, which
are produced as Exts.R4(a) and R4(b). Therefore, it is submitted that since
steps are already taken by the State Government in order to ventilate the
grievance put forth by the petitioner, directions sought in the writ
petition are not required.
While considering the PIL , the Bench observed that the projections made by
the petitioner in the petition is admitted to a substantial extent by the
respondents. However, it is submitted that taking into consideration the
difficulties faced by the people of the locality and the destruction caused
by wild elephants, necessary steps are taken in order to eradicate the
From the counter affidavit filed by the Divisional Forest Officer, it is
definite and unambiguous that adequate steps are taken by the State
Government and the Forest Department. Therefore, the Court of the view that
a direction to implement the steps taken effectively would suffice the
In that view of the matter, the Bench directed the respondents to ensure
that the steps taken as extracted above and others if any, and the
Government Orders issued to eradicate the human – wildlife conflict be
implemented by the State Government and the Forest Officials in its letter
Accordingly, the Bench further directed the respondents to ensure that the
Government Orders in respect of the installation of electric fencing, etc.,
are carried out strictly at the earliest possible time, where it is not
already done in the area in question.