NEW DELHI: An elephant cannot be kept as luxury and there has to be proper place for keeping the animal, the Delhi High Court said on Thursday.
The observation by a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar came while hearing an appeal of a man, who claimed to be the owner of an elephant which is allegedly missing.
According to the elephant's owner Yusuf Ali, the high court by orders dated April 5 and May 14 had directed the government not to take possession of any of the pachyderms owned by him.
However, on July 6, officials from the wildlife and forest department tried to take away the elephant, Laxmi, by force in violation of court orders.
The high court's orders had come on Ali's appeal challenging a single judge's decision declining to entertain his plea against the government's February 19 direction to its officials to take possession of his pachyderms.
During Thursday's hearing, the bench asked the man as to where, in his appeal, he has stated that his livelihood was based upon the elephant.
"Certainly this elephant is not your livelihood. Then the presumption would go that you must be not keeping it properly. Why should we hear you. Just for luxury you are keeping the elephant and you do not have a proper place to keep it. Then let the government take it, they will take care of it. For luxury you cannot keep such a thing at home," the bench said.
When Ali counsel urged that he be given time to place on record documents to show that the elephant was the source of his livelihood, the bench shot back, "in capital 'NO'. We are not permitting you to file anything. You have filed the appeal, you should have done this earlier."
The court listed the matter for further hearing on Friday.
Earlier the court had sought response of the AAP government on the plea seeking contempt action against some of its officials for trying to take possession of the elephant in violation of judicial orders not to do so.
Ali, in his contempt plea, has alleged that on July 6, the wildlife and forest officials came to the Yamuna Bank area, where the petitioner and his family were spending some time with his elephant and tried to take away the pachyderm.
Ali has alleged that when he and his family tried to stop them, the officials manhandled his wife, injuring her, and also threw stones at the elephant which ran into the forest near Akshardham.
He has further alleged that even the police took the side of the wildlife and forest officials by lodging an FIR against him and his wife for obstructing government servants from doing their job.
He has sought action against the forest and wildlife officials for allegedly violating court orders by attempting to seize the elephant.