Chennai: In a significant order, the Madras High Court on Friday ruled that no more elephants can be captured and put under custody, both by the government and private persons.
The State should ensure that no further elephant is taken into captivity except for the purpose of treatment and no private person may capture any pachyderm or keep the same except those already existing, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu said, while passing further interim orders on a batch of PILs today.
Earlier, the State submitted there were 32 elephants in temples in the state and another 31 in private custody, in addition to the 64 under the Forest department.
According to Elsa Foundation, which has been permitted to intervene in the present proceedings, the State had furnished details of 86 captive elephants to the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2019, excluding those with the Forest department.
The bench noted that the figures indicated in court today revealed at least 23 elephants are no longer available between 2019 and now.
"Hence, the State should produce the statements, if any, furnished to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests over the last five years regarding the number of elephants and other material connected to the same, the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on October 21.