Elephant polo is elephant torture

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PETA-India notice to Rajasthan government questioning the use of elephants in festival on 10th March 09

RAJ PANJWANI

Advocate

339, Lawyers Chamber

Delhi High Court, New Delhi –110003

Phone. 23381975

 

SPEED POST ON 28 FEBRUARY 2009 

To

 

(1)                          Secertary/

Director of Tourism,

Department of Tourism,

Govt. of Rajasthan,

Hotel Swagatham Campus,

Near Railway Station,

Jaipur-302006.

 

(2)           Principal Chief Conservator of Forests,

Govt. of Rajasthan,

Van Bhawan,

Near High Court of Rajasthan,

              Vaniki Path,

              Jaipur-302005.

 

(3)           Chief Wildlife Warden

Govt. of Rajasthan,

Van Bhawan,

Near High Court of Rajasthan

              Vaniki Path,

              Jaipur-302005         

 

LEGAL NOTICE

 

Sub:       Elephant Festival  Jaipur, organized by Rajasthan Tourism at Jaipur, to be held on 10th March, 2009 

Sir, 

I have been instructed by my client People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to address you as under:-

 

1.                             The Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan  has scheduled to hold on 10th March, 2009 an Elephant Festival in Jaipur,  Rajasthan. 

2.                             That an promotional release has been posted on the website of Rajasthan Tourism announcing that the elephant festival would be organised on 10th March, 2009 at  Jaipur wherein events like elephant races, elephant – Polo matches and tug of war between elephants and men are to be held. A photocopy of the said  promotional release downloaded from the web  is attached herewith. 

3.                             Elephant is an critically endangered speice and is listed at Entry No. 12-B of Part-I of Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, possession of which is prohibited. Only a person who has been granted an ownership certificate under Section 42 of the said Act by the Chief Wildlife Warden can possess an elephant. Further, Form-II prescribed under sub-rule 5 of rule 5 of the Wildlife (Transaction &  Taxidermy) Rules, 1973 authorizes the Chief Wildlife Warden, while issuing an ownership certificate for a wild animal,  to specify the purpose for which it can be used. 

4.                             That a S.B. Writ Petition (PIL) No. 8987 of 2006 is pending before the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur, wherein the issue of welfare and ownership of elephants in Jaipur, particularly those stationed  at Amber Fort is being looked into. 

5.                             That PETA vide application dated 28th February, 2008 had applied to the Public Information Officer, PCCF (Wildlife), Rajasthan under the RTI Act seeking the following information:- 

“(i)          Total number of elephant located in Jaipur – Amber City. 

(ii)                          Number of elephants in Jaipur – Amber City which are without ownership certificates issued under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. 

(iii)                        Break-up of number of ownership certificates in respect of elephants in Jaipur – Amber City which have been issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden, Rajasthan and the Chief Wildlife Wardens of  other States respectively. 

(iv)                         Name and address of the person in whose actual possession the custody of each of the said elephant is currently with. If the person who holds the custody is other than the owner, than in what capacity and under whose authority the said person has been permitted to keep in his possession the said elephant. 

(v)                            Please supply a legible copy of the ownership certificate of each of the elephants which are located in Jaipur – Amber City.”

 

                     6.                             That the Hon’ble High Court by its order dated 11thJuly, 2008 directed the PCCF (Wildlife) Rajasthan to supply                                                      the specific information sought for in querry No. IV of the RTI Application i.e. “If the peson who holds the custody                                                  is other than the  owner, than in what capacity and under whose authority the said person has been permitted                                                     to keep in his possession the said elephant.”

 

7.                             That as per the  information supplied under the RTI Act there are 117 elephants including two baby elephants in Jaipur out of which the Ownership Certificates of 41 elephants have been issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden, Jaipur and for the balance 62, Ownership Certificates have been issued by the respective authorities of the States other than Rajasthan. The break of such certificates are as under:-

 

State                                                 Certificates

Assam                                                       39

Nagaland                                                   02

Bihar                                                         10     

Maharashtra                                  02

Andaman & Nicobar                                  04

Arunachal Pradesh                                   03

Delhi                                                          01

Lucknow                                       01

                                                                   ----

                                                   Total         62

                                                                   ----

8.                             That the Wildlife Department has filed an additional affidavit dated 8th August, 2008 before the Hon’ble High Court, wherein it  has in Para No. 5 deposed that “The present deponent is not in a  position to furnish definite information, in  what capacity and under whose authority,  these persons [in Jaipur] are keeping the alleged elephants.”

 

9.                             That the Wildlife Department to the said additional affidavit dated 08.08.2008 has also annexed as Annexure AA/R/2 a list of 62 elephants whose ownership certificates are out of the State of Rajasthan and whose possession is with the local   residents of the State of Rajasthan.

 

10.                        That as per Para No. 5 of the said affidavit dated 08.08.2008 the Dy. Chief Wildlife Wardan, Jaipur has issued notices dated 24.07.2008 to each  of the said 62 pesons seeking specific information as to how the person has acquired the possession of the said elephant.

 

11.                        That the Elephant Owners Development Society which is a respondent in the said writ petition before Hon’ble High Court and of which, the said 62  persons are allegedly its members in response to the said notice sent a consolidated reply dated 28.07.2008, on behalf of the said 62 persons, which reply is evasive and does not disclose any information. Section 57 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act clearly mandates that  the burden of proving  lawful possession of an scheduled animal is on the person having possession of such an animal.

 

12.                        That the said 62 persons prima facie have in voilation of the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act acquired the  respective elephants which are admittedly in their possession and thereby, have committed an offense punishable under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act.

 

13.                        Further, the alleged ownership certificates issued in favour of the original owner does not permit the elephant to be used for the purpose of events like elephant races, elephant-polo matches and tug of war. The purpose mentioned presumably in the ownership certificates is for logging. In cases where the purpose has not been specifically mentioned, the owner before using the elephant for any purpose has to  approach the concerned Chief Wildlife Warden, which has issued the ownership  certificate to permit and endorse the proposed purpose for which an elephant has been acquired.

 

14.                        That the Central Government has framed the Performing Animals (Regulation) Rules, 2001 under Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,  1960. Rule 2 (h) defines “performing animal” to mean an animal which is used at or for the purpose of any entertainment including a film or an  equine event to which the public are admitted.” Rule 3 prohibits any person to exhibit or train any animal as a performing animal unless it is registered under  the said rules, in other words registered with the Prescribed Authority, which is the Animal Welfare Board  of India.

 

15.                        That an elephant used for the purpose of racing or polo or tug of war clearly falls within the ambit of the definition of Performing Animal, and using an elephant for the said purpose is prohibited and an offence under Section 38(3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. None of the aforementioned 117 elephants which are to be used for performance during the said elephant festival at Jaipur are registered under the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001.

 

It would indeed be unfortunate, if the State which is under an obligation to implement and enforce the laws, itself commits or promotes acts or events which are in complete voilation of the provisions of law.

 

It is therefore, requested on behalf of my client that the elephants, which do not have a valid ownership certificate under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1962 or those elephants whose valid ownership certificates do not specifically permit the elephant to be used for racing or polo or tug of war; or those elephants which have not been registered under the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, are not permitted to perform or be used for racing or polo or tug of war or for any other event or performance, during the scheduled Jaipur Elephant Festival. My client firmly believes that the officers of the State would uphold and implement the law, failing which, appropriate legal consequences would necessarily follow. 

 

RAJ PANJWANI

Advocate

CC:    Secretary,

Animal Welfare Board of India

13/1, Third Seaward Raod,

Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur,

Chennai-600 041

 

It is requested that appropriate directions/ orders may please be issued to the concerned authorities to prevent any breach of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001.

 

 

Message from Naresh Kadyan, Chairman, PFA- Haryana

Dear all,
The case was taken up by the Hon'ble High Court at Jaipur, next date will be 18-12-07. It has been learnt that the State Wildlife Department booked 10 matters of illegal captivity out of 14 elephants where as the elephants are still in captivity, now we demands that all elephants founds in illegal captivity must be rescued & kept at Rajaji National Park, it is also learnt that The Elephant owners Association also applied to became a party in this case. As per the orders, the respondents was not able to file their reply today.
regards,
Naresh Kadyan, Chairman - PFA HARYANA <www.pfaharyana.in>

Message from Advocate Mahendra Kachhwa on PIL filed against Elephant Polo

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mahendra Kachhawa <wildkachhawa@yahoo.co.in>
Date: Nov 15, 2007 7:00 PM
Subject: Re: Todays report.
To: NARESH KADYAN <chairmanpfaharyana@gmail.com >

Dear All,
 
Again we got a success today as on 15.11.2007 that after hearing merit of the case the Hon'ble court again directed the Government for filing a fresh affidavit regarding compliance of Wild Life Act and Cruelty Act and also file a report on the base of Research about the survival of Elephant and its adverse impact on Elephant from above temperature of 30 degree.
                The Hon'ble Court warn to Government Advocate and Wild Life officer to not to take a casual matter and directed to file a proper reply because it is a serious matter related with Wild Life. The next date of hearing is 18th December 2007.
 
In last but not least the State Government take action against Elephant owners and as per state by authorities that against about 10 elephant owners a case is registered for keeping illegal elephant in their control custody and possesion. Some more cases are also going to registered .
                    Again a request to all of you to send the material as soon as possilble about any research study on Adverse impact on Elephant if it  Survival in the temperature  more than 30 degree.
All the State Wild Life Board member are requested to send the notification or order about stoping the moveent of Elephant in Urban area.
 
 
 
Yours 
Dr.M.S.kachhawa Advocate

Raj Panjwani, Advocate, Hon`ble Supreme Court of India and author of 'Animal laws of India'

There are three prior legal requirements that need to be complied with:

i) the person who owns the elephant should possess an ownership certificate ngranted by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State, of which the owner is an ordinary resident.

ii) If the elephant is from outside the state, than the owner needs to have a transfer certificate issued by the CWW of the state to which the animal has been brought.

iii) Polo being an event/performance the owner needs to have the permission of the AWBI/Director Animal Welfare, MOEFunder the PCA (Performance of Animals) Rules. Are there any studies undertaken to evaluate the kind of training an elephant needs to undergo inorder to do a polo performance.If these studies are available, please forward them to AWBI/Director, Animal Welfare, MOEF with your views on the issue.


Raj.

email: rajp339@sify.com

S. Chinny Krishna, Blue Cross of India

I am certain that the organisers of the elephant polo tournament will
not bother to comply with the legal requirements unless forced to do
so by an AWO.
The penalty for non-compliance is so small that no one is really
concerned about it and enforcement is extremely lax.

Mr. Shand can speak about helping elephant conservation and may be the
tournament will indeed draw attention to the plight of elephants in
India. However, what many of us are concerned about is the welfare
aspect and there can be little doubt that the welfare of the animals
used in the tournament will be severely compromised, whether ankus are
used or not.

S. Chinny Krishna
Blue Cross of India

email: drkrishna@aspick.com


Dr.Sandeep K.Jain, Former Member, AWBI, Hony.Wildlife warden(Punjab)

14th October` 2006

 
It is required that the organisers as well as trainers be registred with AWBI for exhibition,training and performance u/s 22 of PCA Act and must be fulfilling the conditions/Rules under performing Animal (Registration) rules 2001.The persons giving their property  for such events can also be sued. 

The Action can be taken under WPAct 1972 if they are lacking proper ownership certificates or Transit permit(TP) for entering one state to another.
Sh.Jaswant Singh Bishnoi,M.P. is Member of AWBI from Rajsthan.
 
Dr.Sandeep K.Jain
 
former Member ,Executive Committee,AWBI
&Hony.Wildlife Warden(Pb.Govt)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
15th October` 2006
 
It is required that the organisers as well as trainers be registred with AWBI for exhibition,training and performance u/s 22 of PCA Act and must be fulfilling the conditions/Rules under performing Animal (Registration) rules 2001.The persons giving their property  for such events can also be sued. 

The Action can be taken under WPAct 1972 if they are lacking proper ownership certificates or Transit permit(TP) for entering one state to another.
 
Sh.Jaswant Singh Bishnoi,M.P. is Member of AWBI from Rajsthan.
 
Dr.Sandeep K.Jain
 
former Member ,Executive Committee,AWBI
&Hony.Wildlife Warden(Pb.Govt)

Naresh Kumar Kadyan, Chairperson, People for Animals, Haryana

Dear Organisers.


As an animal rights activist I feel you are not doing well & strongly oppose this event.

Under RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2005

THE ELEPHANT TO BE USED IN THE EVENT ARE YOUR PROPERTY & YOU ARE
AUTHORISED BY THE AWBI & ANIMALS ARE REGISTERRED WITH AWBI UNDER PCA
ACT 1960. HAVE YOU GOT PERMISSION FROM WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT ?

ELEPHANT IS THE PROPERTY OF GOVT. UNDER WP ACT 1972 COVERRED UNDER
SCH. 1. HOW ANYONE CAN MISHANDLED THE GOVT PROPERTY ONLY TO ATTRACT
OTHERS, WITHOUT CRUEL MANNER YOU CAN NOT TEACH AN ANIMAL NOR PLAY
UNDER MASTERS KEY.

HOW YOU WILL BRING THE ANIMALS HAVE YOU GOT THE VEHICLES ?

FOR TRANSPORT AS PER ISI,PCA ACT 1960 PROVISIONS?

NEVER.GIVE ME COMPLETE DATA / DETAILS OF THE SAID EVENTS AS I AM
READY TO FILE PIL.


YOURS,

NARESH KUMAR KADYAN,

Chairman, PEOPLE FOR ANIMALS, HARYANA
wwwpfaharyana.in , telefax 011-27862810 mob 9813010595