The Madras High Court on Tuesday said that it will examine whether there is a need to reconstitute a Special Bench to hear pending cases concerning idol thefts, disappearance of temple jewels, etc. from temples in Tamil Nadu..A Division Bench earlier constituted by former Chief Justice Indira Banerjee to hear such cases was dissolved in 2019, during the term of former Chief Justice VK Tahilramani. All such cases were thereby re-assigned to be taken up by roster/portfolio Benches..Appearing in person, a litigant, Rangarajan Narasimhan today raised concern that several idol theft cases have remained pending without any hearing for the last two years after the Special Bench was disbanded. .He told the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy that several persons accused in the idol theft cases have also moved applications for aniticipatory bail and to quash the FIRs against them. .Chief Justice Banerjee responded that the Court would examine whether there is a need to reconstitute the Bench, depending on how many cases there are. Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram, who was present in the virtual court, was also asked to examine the matter from an administrative point of view. .The Chief Justice noted that there may be several Public Interest Litigation (PILs) petitions on such issues as well. If required, all these cases could be taken up by a specific Bench, the Chief Justice observed while asking the AG to put forward his views. .After Narisimhan informed that he has detailed the pending idol theft cases in his 2019 writ petition filed over the appointment of trustees in the Srirangam temple, some of whom stand accused in idol theft cases, the Court said it would list this plea next week. .The Chief Justice orally informed that the issue would be looked at first on the judicial side. If the reconstitution of a Special Bench is required, the Chief Justice can issue directions for the same on the administrative side, he added. .The discussion on idol theft cases ensued after the Court took up a pending matter concerning the welfare of captive elephants in a temple. Narasimhan had earlier raised concern over the alleged inhumane treatment of certain elephants at the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple. .Madras High Court calls for policy to prohibit future ownership of Elephants by private individuals, temples; seeks State response.The Court today reiterated that it was concerned about the welfare of captive elephants, recalling that it has already appealed for the State's views on whether keeping elephants captive should be prohibited in the future. Several orders have also been passed on such issues, concerning the alleged maltreatement of elephants..May consider in future if there should be complete ban on keeping captive elephants for temple duties or as beasts of burden: Madras High Court.Narasimhan today pointed out that usually, since elephants in temples are involved in the temple's activities, they are let out and can walk around. However, during the pandemic, the concern was that the elephants remained in sheds with little movement. The public also does not have opportunities to vist the temples and find out what the situation is during the lockdown period, he added. .The Chief Justice has urged that the State send someone qualified to inspect the situation and appraise the Court by next Wednesday. .The Court also noted that the State can take steps as it deems appropriate for the welfare of elephants, adding that these are matters of State policy.