Sundar, an abused elephant whose cause was supported by celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Madhuri Dikshit, was ordered to be released in a sanctuary by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday. The court ordered the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) (wildlife) to comply with the ministerial order passed in the matter last year.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had approached the Bombay High Court last month seeking the compliance of orders by the authorities regarding the release of Sundar in a sanctuary. Sundar was gifted by a politician to the Jotiba temple in Kolhapur where he was allegedly tortured by the temple authorities.

The petition had alleged that despite the Central and the State government passing an order directing Sundar’s release, the abused elephant was still not released.

“There are marks of injury on the elephant’s body. They show that the animal is being treated cruelly and that norms are being flouted,” the lawyer for the petitioner argued before the court on Tuesday.

“We produced evidence before the court about the torture of Sundar. The forest department had passed an order last year directing the PCCF to immediately confiscate the animal and release him in a sanctuary. The Bombay High Court today [Tuesday] directed PCCF to comply with the order and submit a report to the court by December 23, when the matter will be heard next,” Manilal, Director of Veterinary affaris, PETA, told The Hindu.