|1) In a vast country like India, elephants and their owners
are scattered in remote locations and it is not always
possible for them to have knowledge of government
notifications. In northeastern India, the Forest Department
has no presence in many areas where elephants are
2) In some states (e.g. Assam and Nagaland) Wildlife
(Protection) Rules were not framed until recently and forms
for submitting declarations and issuing ownership
certificates were not prescribed.
3) Section 42 empowers only the CWLW to issue
ownership certificates and the power has not been
delegated to the local Forest Officers. Owners generally
avoid going to the state capitals to meet the CWLW for
fear of harassment.
4) The fact that the Forest Department cannot take any
action against the defaulters has only made elephant
owners grow indifferent. Conversely, most of the circus
companies, vulnerable to harassment by the forest
authorities, do apply for ownership certificates.
5) Section 42 stipulates that the CWLW ‘may issue' a
certificate of ownership. It suggests that the issuance of
ownership certificates is subject to the discretion of the
CWLW. Most of the CWLWs do not take their responsibility
with regard to Section 42 with the same seriousness as
other provisions of the Act.
6) Many applications have been received by the CWLWs
after the date stipulated by the state government. But, the
CWLWs have been under the impression that this delay
constitutes an offence under the Act. There is no provision
in the Act to condone such delays. Ironically, even a
nominal offence in respect of captive elephants cannot be
compounded under the Act (Section 54, proviso) and
invites severe penalty involving imprisonment of the owner
and forfeiture of the elephant.
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