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SC directs registration of Kerala temples having elephants

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that all temples possessing elephants and using them during religious functions in Kerala would be registered with district committees set up under relevant rules for proper and effective control over them with respect to the pachyderms.

“It will be the obligation of the state to see that the registration (of temples) is carried out,” an apex court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R. Banumathi said.

The registration of all the temples or Devaswom with the district committees would be done within six weeks.

Kerala strongly resisted the plea for the registration of elephants contending that there was a provision for a declaration by the owners of elephants and insistence on registration was “unnecessary”.

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Kerala’s stand was supported by the Centre, which said it was only the performing animals that needed to be registered and elephants participating in religious functions did not come under that category.

The court, however, said: “It shall be the duty of the state, the district committee, the temple management and the owners of the elephants to see that no elephant is meted with any kind of cruelty.”

To ensure that those committing cruelty on elephants do not go unpunished, the court further said, “If it is found (that elephants were being treated with cruelty), apart from lodging of criminal prosecution, they shall face severe consequences which may include confiscation of the elephants to the state.”

Referring to the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1974, the court directed the chief wildlife warden to see that all captive elephants in Kerala were counted and take action against owners not possessing requisite certification.

The district committees, which are crucial for keeping a watch on the well-being of the elephants, are constituted under the Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2012, and have representatives from the Wildlife Welfare Board and people engaged in prevention of cruelty against animals and others.

The court’s order came on an application seeking court’s intervention to curb cruelties on elephants owned by the temples in Kerala and used for religious ceremonies and functions.

(IANS)

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Pollution Severe In Delhi In Spite Of Odd-Even Scheme: SC

SC says despite odd-even scheme, pollution in Delhi became severe

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Odd-Even scheme
In spite of Odd-Even vehicle rationing scheme, pollution has reached a severe level. Pixabay

The Supreme Court on Friday said in spite of Odd-Even vehicle rationing scheme, pollution has reached a severe level, and again called the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh, to report on measures taken to curb air pollution particularly related to stubble burning.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said, “Do not give exemption to two-wheelers, and it will work.”

During the hearing, the judges scrutinized the Odd-Even scheme of the Delhi government in respect of air quality index data gathered in the past two years. The judges queried the Delhi government counsel, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, what purpose the scheme served by keeping out cars which contribute mere three per cent of the total pollution.

Odd-even scheme in Delhi
The court observed the data presented by the authorities suggest the Odd-Even scheme had hardly any effect on improving air quality. Pixabay

The court observed that Delhi’s local pollution is a major problem, if stubble burning which contributes 40 per cent is kept out.

“According to the authorities, stubble burning has reduced to somewhere near five per cent now…we are concerned about Delhi’s local air pollution. What is the government doing?”

The court observed the data presented by the authorities suggest the Odd-Eeven scheme had hardly any effect on improving air quality. “Question is what are you gaining by this scheme?” observed the court.

Also Read- Pollution Problem in Delhi Likely to Influence Upcoming Delhi Assembly Polls

Further commenting on the social aspect of the Odd-Even scheme, the court said “Odd-Even will only affect the lower middle class but not the affluent ones since they have multiple cars… Odd-Even isn’t a solution, but public transport could be. But nothing has been done about that”, said the court.

The hearing on the matter will continue on November 25. (IANS)