The Supreme Court on Tuesday restrained the West Bengal government from implementing its proposal to sterilise elephants or any other wildlife to restrict their population, while pulling up the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) for ignoring issues regarding safety of elephants.
A bench of justices Dipak Misra and Vikramjit Sen passed the order while hearing a PIL relating to large number of deaths of elephants on railway tracks in West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
West Bengal’s move to sterilise elephants was brought to the court’s notice by the counsel of Jharkhand, Tapesh Kumar Singh. He pointed out to the state forest minister’s statement that to curb the growing elephant population the administration was contemplating use of immuno contraceptive drug to prevent procreation.
Calling it a “regressive step,” the bench also directed the MoEF secretary to be personally present at the next hearing to explain the measures the ministry has taken in protecting elephants on the railway tracks.