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Ban Commercial Hiring And Leasing Of Elephants, Suggests Amicus Curiae Appointed By Kerala HC [Read Report]

Aakhil Mohammed
25 Sep 2019 9:35 AM GMT
Ban Commercial Hiring And Leasing Of Elephants, Suggests Amicus Curiae Appointed By Kerala HC [Read Report]
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The amicus curiae appointed by the High Court of Kerala has recommended a ban on commercial leasing and hiring of elephants in Kerala.The suggestion was made by Advocate V M Shyam Kumar, who was appointed as amicus curiae by the High Court in a writ petition filed by M N Jayachandran seeking prohibition on use of weak and injured captive elephants in festivals and public events.In Kerala...

The amicus curiae appointed by the High Court of Kerala has recommended a ban on commercial leasing and hiring of elephants in Kerala.

The suggestion was made by Advocate V M Shyam Kumar, who was appointed as amicus curiae by the High Court in a writ petition filed by M N Jayachandran seeking prohibition on use of weak and injured captive elephants in festivals and public events.

In Kerala elephant is considered to be a major attraction in festivals and public events. Based on this demand of elephants, huge business is happening between the elephant owners and the required people. The amicus curiae report mentions various exploitation against elephants in this trade. As per the report of the amicus curiae, middlemen are the main players in fixing the deal between the elephant owners and the festival committees. They set a fixed sum which is commonly known 'ekkam' for the elephants for a particular lease period with the elephant owners. Irrespective of the health conditions or norms prescribed by the law, the middlemen transfer the elephant to required places. The elephant is being forced to stand for long hours and they are continuously transported from one place to other without giving proper rest, states the report.

The report points out that as Section 43 of wildlife protection act prohibits all sort of transfer of captive elephant by the way of sale or offer for sale or any other mode of consideration is prohibited and comes under the ambit of the act.

"Commercial hiring and leasing of captive elephants based on "ekkam" has to be prohibited. Section 43 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 prohibits all transfers of elephants by way of sale or offer for sale or any other mode of consideration of commercial nature. Thus the practice of leasing out captive elephants for a fixed sum commonly known as "ekkam" violates the prohibition under Section 43 and is fit to be banned across Kerala. Persons found violating the rules with respect to captive elephants ought to be tried in accordance with law and if found guilty should be visited with penalties as envisaged under the Act", said the report.

The report has referred to the expert opinion of P S Esa, former Director of Kerala Forest Research Institute.

In the report the amicus curiae has highlighted the legal lacunae and enforcement pit falls and various other grounds that lead the cruelty towards elephants. Some of the major points of the report are :

  1. High mortality rate of captive elephants has been reported in Kerala. It has been estimated that there have been 65 deaths of elephants between 2017-2019. Prolonged malnutrition, faulty feeding practices, intense network and inadequate rest resulted in physiological and psychological stress to the animals were considered to be prime reasons for death of elephants.
  2. Protocol that was prescribed for issuing health certificates by veterinary doctors were not followed was another major drawback cited in the report. this has led to misuse to unhealthy elephants by sending them various festive occasions. in Kerala the incident relating to the elephant thechikotukavu Ramachandran in a prime example of professional negligence by veterinary doctors.
  3. Under section 43 of Wildlife protection act of 1972 prohibits the lease or sale of elephants for commercial purpose. the report suggests that the persons violating section 43 should be tied in accordance with law and if found guilty should be given adequate penalty.
  4. As the requirement of elephants for festivals are high in Kerala. Health priorities related to elephants are given least importance. mainly in transportation of elephants from one place to another the elephant is made to walk for hours without rest or standing for long hours for festivals etc. the report suggests effective usage of latest technology such as GPS for tracking the movement of elephants should be implemented.
  5. The report suggests that matter relating to that retirement of elephants, sufficient staff for looking after elephant, pruning of tusk, effective management of musth, other cruelties that is done towards elephants should be given almost importance and effective solution to overcome the problems should be implemented. 

Click here to download the report

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