The Jharkhand HC took suo moto cognizance on the death of two elephants in the state and has also sought a response from the government regarding the matter.
A Bench comprising of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad on Friday took note of “a very worrying news published in the Daily Hindi Newspaper on 09.09.2021 (Hindustan) about the death of an elephant calf, and also that, within the next ten days a second death occurred”.
The Court remarked that it was the responsibility of the Range Officers and the Forest Guards to not only guard and monitor the forest but also the animals, the staffing pattern for which had been made.
It was also found that although the elephant calf was reported to have died 3-4 days ago, no one knew about the death which suggested about the functioning of the Jharkhand Forest Department officials.
“It seems that the previous plan was aimed and restricted only towards preserving, restoring, and developing flora, however, though the flora needs to be conserved and developed simultaneously the fauna also is required to be preserved and reclaimed by taking the necessary steps to maintain the ecological balance.”
The Court found it very disturbing that such an incident could not have been seen as the pattern of staff in the Department of Forest and Environment in Jharkhand consisted of Forest Guard, Rangers and then Divisional Forest Officers and after that, another higher hierarchy to control them.
Accordingly, Secretary, Forestry and Environment, Jharkhand Government; Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Jharkhand; The Chief, Wild Life Warden, the Jharkhand Government and the Divisional Forest Officer of the Division concerned are instructed to appear before the Court through video conferencing on the next date of hearing.
The matter will next be taken up on 16th September.