The Supreme Court in the case of Muruly MS v State of Karnataka has extended the jurisdiction of a High Powered Committee constituted by the High Court of Tripura for the transfer or import of wild animals in India at the Pan India level. The HPC is headed by the retired Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Deepak Verma, as its Chairman. Members of the HPC included the Director General of Forests (Union of India), the Head of Project Elephant Division (MOEF), the Member Secretary (Central Zoo Authority of India), the Chief Wildlife Warden (State of Tripura) for Elephants from the State of Tripura. and Chief Wildlife Warden (State of Gujarat)
A Special Leave Petition was filed seeking clarification on a previous order of the court regarding a PIL concerning the transfer/sale/gift/entrustment of wild and captive elephants within the State of Karnataka to private individuals and, in particular, to the Radha Krishna Temple Elephant Welfare Trust. The key ground of challenge in the PIL was that the state owns the responsibility to take care of abandoned or rescued elephants and ensure that such animals should not be entrusted to any private trust. The petition, however, requested clarification as to the directions given by the High Court and the Supreme Court since they were applicable only to the population of elephants within the State of Karnataka and not to any other state or territory.
The Elephant Welfare Trust, however, contented that such PILS were baseless and clarified that it rescued and rehabilitated wild/captive elephants, who were in need of long-term care due to injury/old age, abusive captivity, such as circus, street begging, etc. The trust also argued that it was not a breeding centre and was not making any profits commercially in any manner from the rescued and rehabilitated animals. Further, the trust also argued that it was not a breeding centre and was not making any profits commercially in any manner from the rescued and rehabilitated animals.
The PIL was thus dismissed on the ground that it lacks any merit.