The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday left it to the wisdom of the State government to decide on how best to use elephants during festivals, including the Mysore Dasara.

The court-appointed elephant task force, in its report, had recommended that the heavy 750-kg golden howdah carried by the lead elephant in the Mysore Dasara procession be replaced with a lighter replica, or carried on a chariot drawn by the elephants.

The State, however, had refused to accept this suggestion.

But a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, in their verdict on issues related to man-elephant conflict, said “it is left to the wisdom of the State to take a decision with regard to utilisation of elephants in festivals, including Dasara festival in Mysore”.

However, the court made it clear that in case the elephants are involved in such festivals, the State government must ensure that elephants are protected and there would be no violation of the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the rules framed under this law.

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