The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi government to ensure the relocation of a female domesticated elephant, which was seized under the animal protection law, from Haryana to Gujarat by April 15.

The Court has also conveyed the best wishes for Motti, the elephant, at her new abode in its order that also contains photographs of the Jamnagar facility where the elephant will be transferred. "Let Motti be reached to her new abode, with the best wishes of all counsel, the parties as well as of the court", the Court said in its order.

Justice Najmi Waziri ordered that the elephant, that was living at a rescue centre in Haryana, be transferred to Krishan Temple, Management Committee, Moti Khavdi, Jamnagar, noting that the re-location was in the animal's interest as the Jamnagar place was approximate of 400 acres and would be a "far better abode for the elephant to forage through".

"The respondents shall ensure that Motti (the elephant) is transferred to the aforesaid location in Jamnagar by April 15, 2022. Let Motti be reached to her new abode, with the best wishes of all counsel, the parties as well as of the court," says the order.

The order was passed by the Court on a petition by the elephant's owner, Farukh Khan, seeking directions to transport the seized animal to a place with better amenities and to reunite it with its erstwhile family comprising of Gangaram (male), Dhonmati (female), Matti (female) and Chandani (female) of Jamnagar.

The Court noted that efforts were underway between the Haryana government and the Office of Chief Wildlife Warden here and Delhi government had passed the order for Motti's transfer and that the petitioner was ready and willing to pay requisite costs for the relocation.

The elephant was seized under Section 42 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and kept in the custody of the Delhi government and housed at Ban Santour Elephant Rescue Centre at Yamuna Nagar, Haryana pursuant to the surrender notice issued in 2017.

The petitioner had told the Court that Motti's custody was taken by the Delhi government on account of unsuitable standards for its care and upkeep.

The Delhi government had earlier told the Court the petitioner has no locus standi to file the petition as the elephant had become its property.

The Court had however opined that the government's stand was "untenable" and the petitioner's ownership of Motti could not be taken away only because the government had taken custody for better upkeep and unless a reasoned order is passed after a hearing, the elephant could not be appropriated by the authorities automatically.

Click here to read/download Order

With PTI inputs