Can temples keep jumbos: HC asks TN

The judges also asked the pleader to find out from the state forest department and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department, which administers a large number of temples, whether rules permitted the temples to keep elephants.

Do rules permit rearing of elephants in temples? The Madras High Court on Wednesday asked the Tamil Nadu government to answer the question after going through rules and regulations.

The court’s poser came while it was hearing a petition seeking to transfer a temple elephant, which trampled his mahout to death a couple of months ago, to an elephant camp in the state.

The elephant Masini, which was donated by late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa to the famous Mariamman Temple in Samayapuram on the outskirts of Tiruchirappalli, 330 km from here, had behaved violently even after killing its mahout.

Majority of well-known temples in Tamil Nadu have elephants and they become the centre of attraction for pilgrims with kids trying to get their blessings.

Hearing the petition filed by animal rights activist Antony Clement Rubin, a division bench of justices M M Sundaresh and Satheeshkumar of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court directed the government pleader to file a reply on October 10.

The judges also asked the pleader to find out from the state forest department and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department, which administers a large number of temples, whether rules permitted the temples to keep elephants.

In his petition, Rubin had sought shifting of the elephant, currently at a Veterinary Hospital and Research Institute, to the Theppakadu elephant camp in Mudumalai in the Nilgiris.

“I saw the video of the elephant trampling to death its own mahout. I was very disturbed after watching the video and came to know that Masini was very young when it was abandoned by its herd. And Masini was very social during her stay in Theppakadu camp for nine long years,” Rubin told DH.

He said since the elephant was detached from her friends in Theppakadu, she chose to keep to herself and was not very forthcoming.

“My plea before the court is to send back the jumbo to her friends so that she can enjoy her days in the camp. What is the use of the elephant which was so social being confined to a small area?” he asked.

The high court had taken a sympathy view when animal rights activists knocked on its doors seeking euthanasia for Rajeswari, the elephant of Arulmigu Sugavaneswarar Temple in Salem if it was concluded that it cannot be cured of serious painful condition of her left foreleg.

However, the elephant died a natural death within a week of the order.

The court had then granted permission to authorities to euthanise the temple elephant if veterinary doctors certify that it would be cruel to force the animal to endure pain and suffering since the condition cannot be cured or treated.

In his petition, Rubin claimed Masini killing her own mahout clearly indicated that “captive conditions” she underwent had had disturbed her and there was a threat to the lives of her mahouts and that of visitors.

“Given the elephant's young age, her immediate rehabilitation was necessary to save her from permanent physical and psychological damage,” Rubin said.

Liked the story?

  • 1

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry

Comments:

Can temples keep jumbos: HC asks TN

0 comments

Write the first review for this !