A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and A K Menon dismissed a petition filed by local MLA Vinay Kore challenging the powers of the state forest department in issuing an order to relocate the elephant.

The pachyderm was earlier housed at the Jyotiba temple in Kolhapur after it was gifted by Kore to the temple trust. It was, however, shifted out following allegations of ill-treatment by the trust authorities.

While the court has not given any specific relocation schedule, advocate J S Saluja, appearing for the state government, said, "We will do the needful taking into consideration the fact that the elephant is still in Musth condition."

PETA had also moved the High Court seeking implementation of August 21, 2012 order passed by Maharashtra Joint Secretary (forests) to move Sunder to a sanctuary.

PETA had suggested the elephant to be shifted to the wildlife reserve in Mathura.
    
The plight of the 14-year-old tusker had come to light in July 2012. An inspection carried out by veterinary officers found the elephant to be underweight, with scars all over its body and a hole in its ear for the use of a metal ankus to control it that indicated regular abuse inflicted on it by the mahout.

Following the inspection, in August 2012, the forest department issued an order to the principal chief conservator of forest, Nagpur, to relocate the elephant.

(Agencies)

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