The centre, Kerala and 12 other states have been issued notice by the Supreme Court on a petition following the death of a pregnant elephant after consuming food mixed with firecrackers in Kerala's Palakkad in May.
The petition asks the Supreme Court to declare the use of explosives to kill animals a "barbaric practice".
It says the use of explosives and snares to kill animals is illegal and violates Articles 14 and 21 of the constitution on the right to life and dignity. The court, says the petition, should direct the centre and states to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to enforce more stringent punishment for such offences.
The petition also wants the court to issue guidelines for "careful and sensitive handling" of such news by media and the authorities. Because of the lack of information and communication from the state government there is "media trial" on various channels and social media platforms such as Twitter, it says.
The wild elephant strayed into a village in Palakkad in May and was suspected to have eaten fruit or food stuffed with firecrackers. It exploded in the elephant's mouth and it walked for days in agony before it went into a river and died standing on May 27. Images on social media showing the elephant in the river with her mouth and trunk in the water moved thousands.
Villagers in parts of India often use firecrackers or explosives stuffed in food to protect their fields from wild animals like boar and the horrific practice has been widely condemned.