The Orissa High Court has asked the director-general of police to submit an affidavit on how to tackle elephant poaching, which has assumed alarming proportions recently.
The court expressed concern over the poor enforcement of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) in the state after the Forest Department informed that at least 14 cases of elephant poaching occurred during the last five years.
In many of these cases, the elephants were found dead or grievously injured with bullet or pellet wounds. "It is surprising that in none of these cases, the Arms Act has been invoked," the HC observed on Monday.
A division bench, headed by Chief Justice S Muralidhar, was hearing a writ petition that the Special Task Force (STF) of the Crime Branch, which has been entrusted to enforce the WPA, is overburdened in dealing with a whole host of other crimes apart from the wildlife-related crimes.
The court said a concerted effort was needed to activate the law enforcement machinery for strict enforcement of WPA and all other related laws, including the Arms Act.
The DGP was asked to submit his affidavit before the next date of hearing on August 17.
The bench also directed the principal chief conservator of forests to submit an affidavit on the status of departmental proceedings against some forest employees, who are accused in poaching cases.
-With PTI Input