The Supreme Court Tuesday sought responses from the Uttarakhand government and others on a plea challenging a state high court order which had dismissed a petition seeking to house eight elephants, in the custody of the forest department, in their natural habitat.
The matter came up for hearing on Tuesday before a bench of Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer.
The counsel appearing for the petitioner said that one of these elephants was found to be "unfit" while another was blind.
"Issue notice returnable in four weeks. Until further orders, there shall be stay of operation of the impugned judgement and order passed by the high court," the bench said.
The high court, while hearing another petition, had last year banned the commercial use of elephants in Uttarakhand, including for joyrides by owners of resorts, until further orders.
It had also directed the chief wildlife warden to take custody of elephants from their owners by issuing them proper receipts of their treatment, medical examination and proper upkeep and to temporarily keep them at Rajaji National Park in the state.
The high court's order was challenged before the apex court by one of the elephant owners.
The top court had on January 29 stayed operation of last year's order of the high court.
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