Supreme court
Supreme Court

Guwahati: The Supreme Court has dismissed a PIL questioning many aspects of the zoo supported by Reliance Industries Ltd.

The zoo is being established by the Greens Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (GZRRC) at Jamnagar in Gujarat.  

A bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari said: “We are satisfied that the permission granted to respondent No 2 (GZRRC) and the consequential activities of respondent No 2 cannot be said to be illegal or unauthorised. All other aspects of the matter are, obviously, to be examined and dealt with by respondent No 1 (Central Zoo Authority)… this petition is required to be dismissed, for there is hardly any cause calling for the interference of this court.”

The top court passed the order on August 16.

Kanhaiya Kumar, the petitioner in the matter, submitted that the GZRRC is a private zoo and is not permitted to receive animals, whether from abroad or in India.

The petitioner claimed the master layout plan for the zoo was approved in February 2019 but it is not clear as to how the GZRRC is qualified to take the animals from abroad or from a public zoo.

The GZRRC clarified before the court that it would be establishing a zoological park which would be open for public display essentially for educational purposes while the rest of its facilities would operate as rescue centres for the welfare of animals in need of rescue not just from India but all over the world with the objective of welfare of animals, rescue and rehabilitation, and conservation.

The top court said it is unable to find any legal infirmity in the grant of recognition to the zoo and the rescue centre of respondent No. 2 by the CZA.

“The allegations of the petitioner regarding lack of expertise on the part of respondent No. 2 or regarding commercialisation remain uncertain and it does not appear that the petitioner has carried out the requisite research before moving this court in PIL jurisdiction,” it noted.

“We are impelled to observe that the petitioner himself is not an expert in the field and has based the petition merely on news reports which, too, do not appear to have been made by the expert. In any case, when the subject field is to be taken care of by, and is under supervision of respondent No. 1, and there appears no infirmity on its part, invoking of PIL jurisdiction cannot be countenanced.”

The plea had challenged the setting up of the zoo and sought a ban on the GZRRC acquiring animals from within India and abroad, and also an SIT to inquire into the management of the GZRRC.

The top court considered the GZRRC’s submissions about its infrastructure, functioning, the vets, curators, biologists, zoologists and other experts engaged by it and that it was carrying out its activities strictly in terms of the law.

The GZRRC had submitted that it is a non-profit organisation with the main objective of the welfare of animals and revenue, if any, generated would be used by it only for carrying out rescue work.

Dismissing the PIL, the top court said: “Having perused the material placed on record, we are unable to find any logic or basis in this petition.”

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