NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked the Karnataka government to file a detailed affidavit on the steps taken by it to remove spikes and fireballs which are used to drive away elephants, following a direction.
The apex court had a few weeks ago termed as "barbaric" the use of spikes and fireballs to drive away elephants and had directed the states to desist from using such methods.
The court's directions had come after it was told that these methods were being allegedly adopted in states like Karnataka, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha.
It was hearing a petition which had raised the issue of tenders for procuring spikes and fireballs allegedly issued in these states.
Today, the Karnataka government told a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta that in July itself, the state authority had written letters to all concerned officers to remove these spikes and the process was continuing.
However, the counsel for the petitioner claimed that Karnataka has admitted in their affidavit that the spikes would take around six months to be removed.
At this, the bench said "six months is too long."
Karnataka's counsel referred to the affidavit filed by the state and said they have made a categorical statement that all the spikes would be removed.
The lawyer said that as far as time-frame of six months was concerned, she would take instructions and revert.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, told the bench that one of the officers of the state had given a statement that the spikes would not be removed till some other measures are put in place.
The petitioner's counsel also claimed that "nothing has moved on the ground" in the state despite the top court's order.
Karnataka's counsel told the court that no fresh tenders would be issued by the state for procuring spikes or fireballs meant to drive away elephants.
The counsel for West Bengal said the state has issued guidelines that none of these harmful things would be used to divert the elephants.
Similarly, Jharkhand government told the court that they have not put any restriction on the movement of wild elephants in the state.
The bench, while posting the matter for further hearing after three weeks, said that necessary affidavits, if any, be filed by these states.
It asked Karnataka to file a detailed affidavit indicating the steps taken by them with regard to removal of spikes in the state.
The bench noted that no lawyer appeared on behalf of Odisha in the matter.
Later, a lawyer accepted the notice issued to Odisha government.