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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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Supreme Court Signals Out Automobiles Cause Much More Pollution Than Burning Firecrackers

Making it clear that it does not want to generate "unemployment", the court said those who would lose their livelihood can't be compensated in terms of alternate jobs, financial or other support if the firecracker industry was shut down.

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air pollution
Linking the plea for a ban on the manufacture, sale and bursting of firecrackers across the country with Article 19 (1)(g) guaranteeing the right to occupation, trade or business, a bench headed by Justice S.A. Bobde flagged the issue of loss of jobs if there was a clampdown on the firecracker manufacturing industry. Pixabay

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked why firecrackers were being singled out for rising pollution levels when automobiles caused much more pollution. It asked the Centre to apprise it with a comparative study of the two.

Linking the plea for a ban on the manufacture, sale and bursting of firecrackers across the country with Article 19 (1)(g) guaranteeing the right to occupation, trade or business, a bench headed by Justice S.A. Bobde flagged the issue of loss of jobs if there was a clampdown on the firecracker manufacturing industry.

Article 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution guarantees the right “to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business”.

crackers
Observing how there can be a ban on the firecracker industry whose operations were legal and licensed, Justice Bobde said the way out was not cancelling the license but there could be a change in the licensing conditions.
Pixabay

Sitting along with Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice Bobde said the issue had not been examined on the touchstone of Article 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution.

Making it clear that it does not want to generate “unemployment”, the court said those who would lose their livelihood can’t be compensated in terms of alternate jobs, financial or other support if the firecracker industry was shut down.

Observing how there can be a ban on the firecracker industry whose operations were legal and licensed, Justice Bobde said the way out was not cancelling the license but there could be a change in the licensing conditions.

crackers
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked why firecrackers were being singled out for rising pollution levels when automobiles caused much more pollution. Pixabay

The top court’s observations came in the course of hearing a PIL by a toddler — Arjun Gopal — seeking ban on the manufacture, sale and bursting of firecrackers across the country.

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Noting the work being done by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to produce green firecrackers, the top court had in its last order asked NEERI and PESO to stick the timeline culminating in the bulk production of firecrackers based on the new formulations by May 10, 2019.

The top court had in October 2018 permitted the use of only green firecrackers with reduced emission and decibel levels during all religious festivals. (IANS)