Wednesday, Dec 03, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
When the matter came up before the First Bench, the Chief Justice, B. Subhashan Reddy, and Justice K. Gnanaprakasam asked the Government Pleader to get instructions, and posted the matter for the period after two weeks.
The petitioner said the temple elephants sustained bleeding injuries when authorities used iron rods, logs and `angusam' to make them board lorries.
Noting that the persons responsible for the torture should not go unpunished, the petitioner said the State Government-sponsored `elephant festival' and the removal of top soil, grass and bushes were against the mandatory provisions contained in sub-clause 2 of Section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act 1980, which requires prior approval from the Centre.
Elephants belonging to various temples had to travel between 200 and 600 km to attend the camp. The Government should have identified 5 or 6 more places so that the travel distance could be limited to 50 km.
The sudden change of climate and temperature would also have an adverse impact on the temple animals, said the petitioner. Keeping all temple elephants in one camp would result in the spread of diseases to forest animals.
The petitioner alleged that grass and bushes on several acres of sanctuary land had been completely removed in violation of the specific provisions governing reserve forests and sanctuaries. Before putting the sanctuary land to any non-forest purpose such as the elephant camp, the State Government should have obtained the Centre's approval.
Stating that officials who were supposed to take care of the forest resources under their control had failed in their duty, the petitioner said the State Government should be directed to file an affidavit with the names and designations of the officials involved in the operation.
Many elephants were still suffering with the wounds they had suffered before and during the transportation, the petitioner said, requesting the court to direct the authorities to file a report about the "real condition of the animals."
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