The Supreme Court on replying to a PIL that alleged the cruelty meted out to elephants has asked the centre and governments of Goa and Rajasthan to respond in this context at the earliest. The PIL was filed by six organizations and individuals who claimed that over 3000 elephants are being kept by private individuals and religious institutions.
The Court under the bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant has asked the Solicitor General to find out whether the allegations are true, that the animals used in joyrides are subjected to cruelty which violates the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The bench has also sought report from the respective State Animal Welfare Boards after saying that there should not be any violation of the Act.
However in his reply, the Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said that there was no provision which suggest the animal cannot be used for joyrides.
The Court had earlier taken note of the plights of captive elephants in Kerala. It has directed the top wildlife officer to take action against all the perpetrators of violation and those who are keeping elephants as private property without adequate permission.
Today, the Council for Kerala has informed the court that out of 599 privately owned elephants in the state, 289 have no declared owners under the Act of 1974. The Court has directed the Dewasom or the temple boards to register themselves within six weeks with the district committees. The Chief Wildlife Warden was also directed to ensure that all the captive elephants are counted and registered.