Mission Arikomban again! Legal experts differ on whether TN govt can cage tusker

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Arikomban in Cumbum | Photo: Mathrubhumi / Sreejith P Raj

Kochi: Although efforts are underway to capture the rogue rice-eating tusker Arikomban which was translocated from Chinnakanal to Periyar Tiger Reserve, there is a difference of opinion among legal experts on whether the tusker can be caged even if it is caught by the Tamil Nadu government's mission team.

A group of legal experts are of the opinion that the Kerala High Court order approved by the Supreme Court will hinder Tamil Nadu from caging the elephant. However, others opine that since Tamil Nadu was not a party in the case, the order will not be applicable for the state.

The state government had approached the Supreme Court against the Kerala High Court's order directing not to cage the tusker. However, the apex court was not ready to interfere with the high court order, which was based on the decision of an expert committee. Hence, the order is also applicable to Tamil Nadu, said HC advocate AK Preetha.

“If Arikomban is to be caged, then the permission of the Kerala High Court or the Madras High Court is necessary,” she added.

However, former prosecution director general T Asif Ali and senior advocate George Poonthottam asserted that the order does not apply to Tamil Nadu as the state was not a party in the case.

On Saturday, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department issued an order to tranquilise Arikomban after the elephant entered Cumbum Town, damaged vehicles and caused commotion.

According to the order, Arikomban should be darted and shifted to Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve with the help of Kumki elephants.

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