Expressing concern over electrocution of elephants, the Karnataka High Court on Friday directed the electricity supply companies (escoms) to file an action taken report (ATR) to prevent such instances based on the assurance that these escoms had earlier given to the court.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued an oral direction while hearing a public interest litigation petition which was suo motu initiated by the court in 2008.

As some of the escoms, in whose jurisdiction high tension (HT) electricity lines pass through elephant corridors, had earlier assured the court of taking steps to prevent sagging of electricity lines, the Bench said asked them to file the ATR while taking note that electrocution of elephants continue to be reported.

When it was pointed out that some elephants get electrocuted due to drawing of power illegally from these HT lines to the otherwise low voltage electric fencing by the owners of estates and farms to protect their crop from elephants, the Bench said that it would not hesitate to direct all escoms to stop supply of power to those high tension lines if proper action is not taken.

Meanwhile, the Bench viewed seriously the act of the State government in not deciding on the recommendations made by a court-appointed expert committee on issues related to elephant corridors.

“It is the government’s job to protect wildlife, people and environment. You are taking your own time. If you are not doing it, allow the court to do something,” the Bench observed when government counsel sought time for considering the recommendations. The court indicated that it would pass orders based on the committee’s suggestions if the government failed to give its response while adjourning hearing to June 27.

Notice

The High Court on Friday ordered issue of notice to the State government in a petition questioning the discontinuation of services of the chairperson of the Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Castes Development Corporation soon after the new government assumed power in the State.

Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar passed the order in the petition filed by K.V. Nagendra whose appointment to the post was cancelled by the government on June 6. It has been contended that the term of his appointment was for three years and hence, termination of services now is illegal.

He was appointed on December 28, 2012.

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