The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamurthy on citing to the video that had gone viral wherein an elephant is being bet mercilessly by its caretakers, said, “There must be a uniform policy that all elephants under private owners and temples should come under the care of the forest department and further use of elephants by temples and private parties are completely prohibited.”
Also noting that the elephants can’t be treated as a beast of burden and they should be allowed to go back to the forest, the bench said “Any kind mistreatment of elephants by the caretakers are others should be dealt with promptly and as mercilessly as they treat the animals.”
“Exploitation of animals for all purposes should be stopped. Even the horses and camels used for riding on the beaches can’t be privately operated since the treatment of animals cannot be checked,” the bench added while granting 10 weeks for the creation of comprehensive policy guidelines on consultation with experts enabling rehabilitation of animals which have been lured away from forest and further measures put in place so that animals are not exploited by humans in the state any further.
The bench was passing orders on a public interest litigation moved social activist Rangarajan Narasimhan against the inhumane treatment being met out to two elephants-Andal and Laxmi-owned by Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple and that they have been separated them from the mahout and cavady (assistant) much against the rules.
He also contended that despite various rules in existence for the welfare of elephants none were being adhered to and the Animal Welfare Board of India was also not bothered in implementing the same.