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Delhi HC directs SPCA to take custody of male Hippopotamus confined with Asiad Circus management

ANI | Updated: Jan 22, 2021 19:12 IST

New Delhi [India], January 22 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Delhi Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to immediately take custody of the male Hippopotamus who has been illegally kept by the Asiad Circus management and place it in the zoo.
The court also issued non-bailable warrants against Riazuddin, who runs the Asiad Circus.
"Delhi SPCA to immediately take steps for the seizure of hippopotamus from the circus or any other person. Security and assistance shall be provided by the police to the officials of the SPCA team going for the seizure of the animal," the court said in its order.
A single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh also directed to Delhi Police to provide the required security to authorities for following the purpose of seizure of the male Hippopotamus.
The court also made it clear that the copy of this order shall act as a notice to the Commissioner concerned and the local police of the concerned area to cooperate with the officials of the SPCA while taking seizure.
The Delhi SPCA works under the Delhi government and it is responsible for providing protection to the animals against cruelty.
The court was hearing the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), India plea seeking immediate seizure of a male hippopotamus who is being illegally detained by respondent Asiad Circus, which was run by Riazuddin.

PETA India submitted that "despite the license of the circus having being canceled, the respondent Asiad Circus continues to retain all the animals including a Hippopotamus in a completely illegal and unlawful manner."
Advocate Aman Hingorani, appearing for PETA India submitted that repeated orders have been passed against Respondent Circus, and finally vide order dated February 24, 2020, the proprietor of the circus was directed to be present personally as well. However the respondent circus, despite repeated directions, not filed an affidavit disclosing the location and status of Hippo.
Advocate Hingorani submitted that though the Counter affidavit is not on record, the exemption was sought by the respondent Circus on the ground that the animals are being used for educational purposes under section 27 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. He submitted that "there should be immediate directions issued for the seizure of the Hippopotamus which is in the illegal custody of the respondent Circus."
PETA India Counsel Swati Sumbly in a statement said that it is high time this hippo was afforded better care after a miserable life spent confined to a small enclosure at the circus.
"This hippo's plight reminds us that animals in circuses are still being beaten to perform confusing tricks and denied everything that's natural and important to them. A ban on the use of animals in circuses is urgently needed," she further added.
Considering the fact that no one appears for the respondent circus till date, the court, today, issued various directions, including that the SPCA, after taking action, file its report before the court and the Hippopotamus, if seized, shall be placed in the Delhi Zoo.
The court also made it clear that if there is any difficulty in the transportation of the Hippopotamus, the animal should be placed in the local zoo of the area where the seizure of the animal takes place. The court directed the authorities concerned to take adequate care of the animal wherever the animal is placed till further orders.
With these directions, the court listed the matter for further hearing on April 15. (ANI)