The Madras High Court has directed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department to file its response within two weeks on a complaint that an elephant owned by the Srirangam temple, Tiruchirappalli was forced to dance causing pain and sufferings to it.
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The court also directed the department to file an affidavit saying it will ensure that the elephant is not made to do “undesirable” activities on a complaint by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) with video clips of the pachyderm.
The court issued notice to the temple management.
A PIL was moved by one Radha Rajan months back seeking a direction to constitute a monitoring committee to supervise the maintenance of cows and elephants donated to various temples and mutts.
The petitioner had also sought a direction to the government to formulate a comprehensive scheme for the upkeep of animals donated to temples.
When the plea came up last week for hearing, AWBI submitted its inspection report, as per the high court’s earlier order.
Going through the report, the court said, “The temple management has submitted that it lacks funds. The question, thus, would be of removal and maintenance of the elephant. The report of AWBI suggests that the animal must be shifted from the temple.”
On formation of District Level Captive Animals Welfare Committees, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department submitted that the committees will be constituted within a month.
Recording the submissions, the bench posted the PIL to November 18 for further hearing.