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SC dismisses PIL against establishment of zoo in Gujarat's Jamnagar

ANI | Updated: Aug 19, 2022 20:11 IST

Jamnagar (Gujarat) [India] August 19 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a PIL against the Zoo that is being established in Jamnagar, Gujarat by the Greens Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre Society (GZRRC) which is supported by Reliance Industries Limited.
A bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari while declining the plea said that the permission granted to the GZRRC and the consequential activities cannot be said to be illegal or unauthorised.
"Taking note of the submissions made in the counter affidavit with the accompanying documents, 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. What has been observed hereinabove, this petition is required to be dismissed, for there is hardly any cause calling for the interference of this Court," the bench stated in its order.
The order of the apex court came on a PIL filed by Kanhaiya Kumar, an activist, challenging the permission granted to GZRRC to establish a Zoo in District Jamnagar, Gujarat.

The plea has also sought a ban on GZRRC acquiring animals from within India and abroad and also an SIT to inquire into the operations and management of GZRRC.
The petition stated that the Central Zoo Authority had granted permission to GZRRC, a private Zoo, to import several endangered, vulnerable and threatened animals from abroad and also domestically.
According to the petitioner, GZRRC is planning to have the largest number of species and animals in Zoo in order to attract visitors and to make a business out of the same, which remains entirely impermissible.

GZRRC in the garb of making a Rescue Centre for animals is seeking to carry out the commercial activity and that a Zoo and a Rescue Centre cannot be operated under one roof, the petitioner submitted.
However, GZRRC has maintained that it has been operating as a non-profit organisation with the principal objective of the welfare of animals. It has also stated that except for Zoological Park, which would be open to the public, no other area would be open to the public and would be maintained only as Rescue Centre.

GZRRC had further submitted before the apex court that Zoological Park itself would be operated essentially for educational purposes and to create awareness for promoting the welfare of animals. It added that even if any revenue is generated from the Zoological Park, the same shall be, after payment of taxes, used only towards rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.
Dismissing the plea, the apex court bench said that it was 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 the supervision of the Central Zoo Authority, and there appears no infirmity on its part, invoking of PIL jurisdiction cannot be countenanced, the top court said.
In its order passed on August 16, the bench further said, "We are unable to find any legal infirmity in the grant of recognition to the Zoo and the Rescue Centre of GZRRC by the Central Zoo Authority. The allegations of the petitioner regarding lack of expertise on the part of GZRRC 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." (ANI)