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Elephants Belongs to Forest, not Temples: Karnataka High Court.

A plea was recently filed in the Karnataka High Court challenging direction to hand over of an elephant (in a temple) to the forest department by the State government.

Socio Legal Corp

By- Arshita Anand.

A plea was recently filed in the Karnataka High Court challenging direction to hand over of an elephant (in a temple) to the forest department by the State government.

The bench consisting of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice NS Sanjay Gowda observed that elephants do not belong to temples but rather to forests.

“Elephant belongs in the forest and not in the temple,” the Court remarked.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that “It is only for pooja and not for any other purpose,”  but the Court replied that keeping elephants away from their natural habitat would be showing cruelty towards them.

The petitioners were the founder trustees of the Sri Kalika Durga Parameshwari Temple Vidyaranyapura Tindlu Bangalore. In 2002, hey had purchased an elephant from Kerala Forest Department in due compliance with Wildlife Protection Act.

The Principal Secretary to Muzarai Department passed an order declaring the institution as a Muzarai institution.

The validity of this order was challenged by the petitioners through a  petition filed in 2018. At that time, interim orers were passed by the court directing the respondents to not take any steps to take possession of the elephant without express permission from the Court.

However, the forest officials were informed later on that there was a change of ownership with respect to the Kalika Durga Parameshwari Temple and the elephant was no longer required for any pooja purposes and therefore, it has to be taken back.

The Court directed the State government to file its statement of objections in three weeks. It also ordered the government to place on record necessary details of treatment given to the elephant. 

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