THE court battle between Maharashtra Government and People for Ethical Treatment to Animals (PETA) on the shifting of the Male Elephant ‘Sunder’ continued today in the Bombay High Court.

The PETA had to take resort for the relocation of the elephant to Mathura, Uttar Pradesh as he was being tortured in the custody of the Temple in Kolhapur.

PETA allegedly said that the animal was ill-treated in the Jyotiba temple of Kolhapur where he was donated to the temple by a local MLA, but the officials in the temple and Mahavat (Elephant handler) denied these claims. Though Sunder was shifted to another place in Kolhapur but PETA counsel Shiraz Rustom told the bench of justices V M Kanad and Anil Menon that the NGO was ready to bare the expenses of shifting Sunder to Mathura and even its medical treatment expenditure.

However the Maharashtra government is opposing the move saying that the elephant is in a musth stage (a period of sexual urge in male elephants) and so they are not in favour of shifting it to Mathura.The Government lawyer submitted a report to the HC of a two-member panel consisting of Ajay Desai a wildlife expert and S Bhatt a Veterinarian from Kolhapur.

NGO PETA filed a petition in August 2012 for the shifting of the 14 year old elephant to a sanctuary in Karnataka, and the expenses were borne by PETA once the order was passed. Now the NGO wants it to be shifted to Mathura and the bench of judges has given March 11, 2014 as the final date of hearing.

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