Gujarat HC Calls on Petitioner to File RTI in Plea Against Transfer of Wild Animals to RIL Supported Zoo | (Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP)
The Gujarat High Court has requested an animal rights NGO to file a Right to Information (RTI) request for a copy of the order from the central and state governments authorizing the transfer of wild animals to a zoo supported by Reliance Industries Limited in Jamnagar.
Accordingly, the burden of proving that such permission was given in August 2020 rests with the petitioner, who argued that the letter of permission was not in the public domain. In response, the court asked him to file a request under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Halar Utkarsh Samiti Trust, which filed a public interest complaint asking the court to prevent the central and national zoo authorities from transferring wild animals to the private zoo and record the permission granted to the private zoo.
The petitioner, through his attorney Aditya Choksi, presented before a divisional bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice AJ Shastri that the zoo – Greens Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Jamnagar – had been recognized under Section 38 of the Wildlife Protection Act (h) on August 17, 2020, by the Central Zoo Authority.
And according to the law, “there is no provision regarding the recognition of a private zoo and there have recently been reports that 94 wild animals which are listed animals have been brought from Morocco to Jamnagar,” said the petitioner.
According to the petitioner, the zoo has been recognized in the category of mini zoo under Rule 9 of the Zoo Recognition Rules, 2009.
However, Choksi alleged that the recognition was granted without meeting any of the criteria in Rule 10, which relates to wildlife protection and conservation interests. He also pointed out that the Chief Wildlife Warden of Gujarat had applied to the zoo’s central authorities for recognition of the zoo “within 15 days” after a proposal was made by RIL for the same.
The petitioner argued that the obligation to protect the life of wild animals could not be transferred to a private body.
When the court asked and asked to see the August 2020 permission order given to the zoo, Choksi pointed out that it was not in the public domain. The court instructed Choksi to attempt to obtain it by filing an application required under the RTI Act.
Not only that, the bench asserted that only after producing the order will the court consider the petitioner’s claim and the maintainability of the petition.
The court, in its order, dictated in open court, recorded: “…In the whole of the case, the applicant relies on the recognition of 17.8.2020. However, the copy of the said order is not placed in the file. In this view of the matter, we grant the petitioner the freedom to produce the same thing. »
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