CHENNAI: The First Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the State government to constitute State and district level welfare committees within six weeks for the welfare of animals, especially elephants, that are kept captive in temples, as envisaged under the TN Captive Elephant (Management and Maintenance) Rules 2011.
The bench of Chief Justices SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh gave the direction on Tuesday while passing further interim orders on a PIL from Radha Rajan, of Kalakshetra colony of Tiruvanmiyur, praying for a direction to the authorities concerned to ensure cows and elephants donated to temples are properly looked after. Despite numerous enactments and clear guidelines laid down by the High Court, temple authorities grossly neglect their administrative duties, including the prevention of cruelty to animals in their care.
The bench also directed the government to install CCTV cameras in the goshalas, where the animals are kept.
The bench also directed that a female elephant, named Madhuravalli, of Koodalalagar Temple in Madurai, which requires medical treatment, be handed over to the Forest Department within seven days. Another elephant named Gomathi, housed at Sri Mahalingaswami Temple in Tiruvidaimarudur, Kumbakonam, was abandoned by the Mutt. Steps should be taken to hand over this elephant also to the Forest Department for its care within a week, the bench added.