The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Secretary of the Government, Environment and Forest Department to ensure that no more acquisition of elephants by private individuals or religious institutions in Tamil Nadu.
It also directed the Secretary to Government, Environment and Forest Department to cause an inspection of all temples and other privately owned elephants. “The time has now come to take a call if all such elephants now in captivity (both temples and privately owned) should be shifted to Government Rehabilitation Camps. The Secretary to Government, Environment and Forest Department may coordinate with the Secretary to Government, HR&CE Department in this regard,” read the official notice.
The special judge who heard the case filed by the forest department in the Madurai branch regarding the maintenance of a 60-year-old female elephant named Lalitha ordered that the elephant should not be separated from mahout and that the elephant should continue to be under mahout care.
Justice GR Swaminathan recently visited Lalitha with activists and found injuries on the jumbo’s body. He directed the District Collector of Virudhunagar to take care of the elephant with the help of the animal husbandry department.
“After the rescue, Lalitha will be transferred to the Government Elephant Rehabilitation Camp for lifelong care as the elephant is over 60 years old. He also referred to the first bench orders that elephants should no longer be purchased by private or religious institutions,” read the official notice.