Recently, the Madras high court stated that taking the captive elephants that are in private possession on roads for making them ‘bless’ commuters in exchange of money is begging. Further, the court stated that the district forest officers must stop it by carefully implementing the law that bans this practice.

The court made this statement while hearing a petition filed by an owner of an elephant which has been taken away by Kancheepuram forest officials after the authority found that the animal was used for begging, reported a leading daily. 

Justice D Krishnakumar stated that use of elephants ‘to bless and receive money in return’ is begging and thus, the violation of rule 6(11) of the Tamil Nadu Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules 2011. This rule specifically mentions that elephant should not be taken to roads and to any other place to beg or any other mean purposes. Forcing the elephants to beg leads to exploitation of the animal and therefore, following the rules under this enactment is important. 

The court then directed the district forest officers to make sure that the rules are implemented strictly in accordance with their true letter and spirit, the Times of India quoted the judge as saying. Further, he instructed the principle chief conservator of forests (PCCF) to circulate the rule in Tamil language to the owners of elephants in the state.