Strict directions given to the State of Kerala to ensure that no cruelty is meted out to captive elephants

Supreme Court: Expressing concern over the cruelty meted out to elephants owned by private persons in the State of Kerala, the Division Bench of Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi, JJ., in strict terms directed the Chief Wildlife Warden to keep a count of all captive elephants in the State of Kerala and ensure that the requisite declarations and certificates under Sections 40 and 42 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 are duly obtained by the owners. The Court further imposed an obligation upon the State of Kerala to ensure that the various temples in the State are registered with the District Committee as per the requirements under Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2012. The temples are also to mention before the District Committee the number of elephants they will be using during the festivals.

The present case highlighted the need to stop cruelty on animals. The counsel for the petitioner C.A. Sundaram, stated that several private owners have not declared and registered their captive elephants. The contention of the petitioner was vehemently opposed by R. Basant, appearing on behalf of the State.

Adopting a strict approach, the Court cast a duty on the State, the District Committee, Management of the temples, and the owners of the elephants to ensure that no cruelty is meted out to the elephants, failing which the consequences will be severe including confiscation of the elephants to the State. Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre v. Union of India,  2015 SCC OnLine SC 732decided on 18-08-2015

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