Kerala HC junks Kitex MD plea to bring Arikomban back to state

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Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking to handover rice eating tusker Arikkomban to Kerala and be translocated in some deep forests in the state.

A bench of Justices Alexander Thomas and C Jayachandran declined to interfere with Tamil Nadu government's move to tranquilise, capture and translocate rice eating tusker Arikkomban, which recently forayed into a residential area there and caused a panic among the people, in a forest range of that state.

The bench also said that it was restraining itself from imposing costs on the petitioner -- Sabu Jacob -- the MD of Kitex Garments and president of Ernakulam-based political party Twenty20.

The plea by Jacob had also sought directions to the state of Tamil Nadu to ensure that the tusker was not harmed while being tranquilised.

The High Court dismissed the plea saying that there were no factual or legal averments in it that the actions of Tamil Nadu government were illegal or harmful to the wild elephant in any manner.

It also said that no grounds were indicated in the plea for interference by the Kerala High Court and suggested that the petitioner move the Madras High Court if he was aggrieved by the Tamil Nadu Chief Wildlife Warden's decision to tranquilise, capture and translocate the tusker in question.

The bench also noted that the petitioner had not challenged the Tamil Nadu Chief Wildlife Warden's order.

The court said in these circumstances, "there is no question of entertaining or granting the prayers sought in the petition".

During the hearing, the Kerala government opposed the prayer for bringing the tusker back to the state.

The Centre too opposed that relief saying there cannot be a state of domicile for wildlife animals and that they do not belong to any particular state.

"Let us allow our people to live in peace," the bench said after it concluded dictating the order.

The wild tusker recently strayed into Tamil Nadu from Kerala and allegedly attacked a man in Theni who later died.

Known for its love of rice and ration shop raids in Kerala, Arikomban was last month translocated to the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the state, before it strayed into Cumbum town in Tamil Nadu's Theni district on May 27.

Subsequently, the Tamil Nadu government formed a team of experienced forest officials under the field director of Srivilliputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve (SMTR) to nab the wild tusker.

Following this, Jacob moved the Kerala High Court. PTI

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