339, Lawyers Chamber
Delhi High Court, New Delhi –110003
SPEED POST ON 28 FEBRUARY 2009
Director of Tourism,
Department of Tourism,
Govt. of Rajasthan,
Hotel Swagatham Campus,
Near Railway Station,
(2) Principal Chief Conservator of Forests,
Govt. of Rajasthan,
Near High Court of Rajasthan,
(3) Chief Wildlife Warden
Govt. of Rajasthan,
Near High Court of Rajasthan
Sub: Elephant Festival Jaipur, organized by Rajasthan Tourism at Jaipur, to be held on 10th March, 2009
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:-
Andaman & Nicobar
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.
Animal Welfare Board of India
13/1, Third Seaward Raod,
Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur,
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.
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.
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
14th October` 2006
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.
NARESH KUMAR KADYAN,
Chairman, PEOPLE FOR ANIMALS, HARYANA
wwwpfaharyana.in , telefax 011-27862810 mob 9813010595