PIL Jurisdiction can’t be invoked merely based on News Reports: Supreme Court

zoo

The Supreme Court observed 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.

Background

The writ petition, filed by the way of Public Interest Litigation (PIL),with reference to petitioner ‘s interest in welfare of environment and protection and improvement of wildlife. The respondents, Centre Zoo Authority and Greens Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is said to be a private entity, which has been given the permission by respondent, to import several endangered, vulnerable and threatened animals from abroad and also domestically. The petitioner is assailing the permission so granted to another petitioner, to establish a Zoo in District Jamnagar, in the State of Gujarat. 

Arguments

Advocate Ashwin Kumar Nair, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the Zoo is private and is not permitted to receive animals, whether from abroad or in India. The respondent is planning to have the largest number of species and animals in the Zoo in order to attract visitors and to make business. 

He argued that the respondent, in the garb of making a Rescue Centre for animals, is seeking to carry out commercial activity; and that a Zoo and a Rescue Centre cannot be operated under one roof.

Advocate Sati Ghildiyal, appearing for the respondent, opposed the writ petition by stating that it is based on incorrect news reports. The recognition of the respondent has been in accordance with law and that the Centre has been operating as a non-profit organisation with the principal objective of welfare of animals. 

He further submitted that no other area would be open to the public except the Zoological Park, and that also essentially for educational purposes and creating awareness for promoting welfare of animals. 

He stated that the revenue from Park,  after payment of taxes,shall be used only towards rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.

Decision

The division bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Krishna Murari stated that, there is hardly any scope to dispute that the respondent is a recognised Zoo as well as a recognized Rescue Centre. 

The court said that it was unable to find any legal infirmity in grant of recognition to the Zoo and the Rescue Centre of the respondent by the other respondent. The allegations of the petitioner regarding lack of expertise on the part of respondent or regarding commercialisation remain uncertain and it does not appear 

The court observed 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, and there appears no infirmity on its part, invoking of PIL jurisdiction cannot be countenanced.

The court while dismissing the petition and after taking note of the submissions made in the counter affidavit with the accompanying documents got satisfied that the permission granted to the respondent and the consequential activities of the respondent cannot be said to be illegal or unauthorised. 

Case title: Kanhaiya Kumar Vs. Central Zoo Authority & anr. 

Citation: WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 547 OF 2022

Click here to read the Order/Judgment 

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