The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday viewed seriously the action of the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests (MoEF) in constituting a task force to deal with man-elephant conflict in Karnataka while observing that action was “prima facie interference with the proceedings pending before the court.”

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, while hearing a public interest litigation that was initiated suo motu by the High Court in 2008 based on news reports on deaths of elephants near Mysore, said that the order of the Central Ministry issued on January 20 would “prima facie amount to interference with the court proceedings.”

Official summoned

Following this observation, the Bench directed the Joint Director (Wildlife), MoEF, Prabhat Tyagi, who had issued the orders, to appear before the court on January 31 on his personal travel expenses.

However, when the Assistant Solicitor General informed the High Court later that the officer would file an affidavit by Monday tendering an apology in this regard, the High Court Bench orally said that its order would remain in force if no affidavit is filed.