Karnataka High Court takes up suo motu PIL on electrocution of elephants

Seeks info from govt on measures for safety of wildlife.
Last Updated : 14 June 2024, 23:28 IST

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The high court on Friday registered a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) regarding the death of elephants in the state due to electrocution.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice N V Anjaria and Justice K V Aravind, took cognizance of the newspaper report about the unnatural death of an elephant named Ashwathama due to electrocution.

“The successive and repeated incidents of the death of elephants in the State of Karnataka in different areas due to electrocution or for other unnatural causes are a serious matter to worry. The (newspaper) report reflects that the incidents take place for want of diligence on part of the authorities in charge of ensuring safety measures for the elephants in particular, and the wildlife in general,” the bench said. The bench further said, “The elephants and wildlife have the right to live in a safe environment, not to die unnatural death, as they stand under statutory protection.”

The court noted that while elephant Ashwathama died in Mysuru, there was one more death of an elephant in Chikkamagaluru district and two other deaths in Madikeri district. All these deaths had occurred due to electrocution.

The bench quoted the newspaper report which said that the state has lost 35 elephants to electrocution between January 2021 and June 12, 2024. The court appointed senior advocate Puttige R Ramesh to assist the court as Amicus Curiae.

Directing the registrar general to register the suo motu petition, the bench has asked the state government and the authorities to submit as to what steps have been taken for ensuring the safety and protection to the life of elephants and other wildlife assets in the state.

The bench also directed the authorities about the steps proposed to be taken in future, in light of the repeated deaths of the elephants occurring and reported, to prevent such instances of unnatural deaths.

“What is the mechanism adopted and developed for the safety and safeguard of the elephants and other wildlife within the sanctuary area as well as outside the reserved area. In what way the authorities fix the liability of officers when such kinds of deaths of elephants and wildlife occur,” the bench said.

Published 14 June 2024, 23:28 IST

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