Kochi: The high court has directed the district-level committee on the Kerala Captive Elephant Management and Maintenance Rules to strictly implement the Supreme Court verdict of August 2015 that sick or injured elephants should not be used for processions or festivals.
The interim order was issued by the Division Bench comprising Justice Alexander Thomas and Justice N Nagaresh on the plea filed by the member of the State Animal Welfare Board M. N. Jayachandran. District committees of Thrissur, Palakkad and Ernakulam are the opposition parties in the case.
The Chief Wildlife Warden had issued an order on May 2 to take action against the veterinary doctor who gave fitness certificate to tusker Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran.
The petition was filed in the court questioning the order issued by the Principal Chief conservator on May 4 freezing the action against the doctor. The Division Bench did not accept the request to stay the order.
A lawyer was appointed as amicus curie to assist the court. The court has also sought the service of former director of Kerala Forest Research Institute Dr. P. S. Easa in this matter.
The government informed the court that a collective move is under progress to sabotage Thrissur Pooram and other festivals. If all the demands in the plea are accepted, no elephant can be used for Thrissur Pooram processions.
One of the demands in the plea is to cancel the ownership license of those who use sick, injured or weak elephants for festivals. In case of any damage that occurs to life or properties due to the elephants, the owner and the district level committee is liable to give compensation.
The veterinary doctors who give fitness certificates to weak elephants should be dismissed from service, it was demanded in the petition. It is noted in the plea that the veterinary doctor provided fitness certificate to Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran on January 23.
Another certificate was issued on February 6 granting permission for transportation and on February 8, the tusker had killed two persons at a function in Guruvayur Kottappady. It is requested in the plea that stringent action should be taken to stop doctors from issuing certificates without proper checking.