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SC seeks response from Centre and states on owning elephants

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and several states, including Kerala and Goa, to apprise it on whether a person can keep an elephant in custody as an owner under the wild life protection laws.

A Bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, said if there is no prohibition for keeping an elephant, then what rule would govern the upkeep of a wild animal like pachyderm. The Bench asked who the authorities were to regulate the health and upkeep of elephants.

The direction came after Animal Welfare Board submitted a report regarding the upkeep of three elephants and alleged violation of Wild Life (Protection) Act by two resorts in Goa.

Senior advocate CA Sundaram, appearing for the Animal Welfare Board, has mentioned 10 aspects pertaining to apparent violation to animal protection laws and made recomendations for the upkeep of elephants. 

The Bench has posted the matter for further hearing on April 27 and sought the replies within three weeks.

The direction came on two applications moved on a PIL, filed by six organisations and individuals, which said the number of captive elephants kept by private persons and religious institutions stood at over 3,000.
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