Twenty-two years after ivory articles worth crores were taken away from traders after an amendment in the Wildlife Act,which banned its trade, the lieutenant governor (LG), Delhi, directed the wildlife department to give the articles back to their owners.
Observing that the Wildlife Act declared the holder of the ivory articles as "the custodians of this national treasure", LG directed the department to grant certificate of ownership to them. "To empower the appellants of their rights as custodians of these stocks, I hereby direct the respondent to grant certificate of ownership for the purpose construed to be 'personal bonafide use' only," said Najeeb Jung, LG, Delhi.
The order came on an appeal filed by 15 traders who had to give away their articles after the ban in 1991.
During the hearing, Vipin Sanduja, counsel for one of the appellants, sought release of around 340 kgs of ivory articles declared by his client.
He further stated that his client had no intention to use the stock for sale. The counsel for the wildlife department, however, opposed the plea.
The LG also directed the wildlife department to inspect the declared stock every two years and inform the secretariat about it.