HC seeks Centre, Delhi Govt's reply on rehabilitation of African elephant
The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to Centre, Delhi Govt and others concerned on a petition seeking the release and rehabilitation of Shankar, the lone African elephant in the National Zoological Park (NZP).
The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to Centre, Delhi Govt and others concerned on a petition seeking the release and rehabilitation of Shankar, the lone African elephant in the National Zoological Park (NZP). A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh asked Centre, Delhi Govt, the NZP and CZA to respond to the petition and listed the matter for the next hearing on March 9, 2022.
Youth For Animals (YFA), through its 16-year old founder Nikita Dhawan, has filed a petition in the High Court of Delhi seeking the release and rehabilitation of Shankar, the lone African elephant in the National Zoological Park (NZP) citing the 2009 circular issued by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) which had banned exhibition of elephants in zoos, as well as the CZA guidelines which prohibit an elephant to be held solitary for over six months. In the petition, YFA has asked the High Court to direct the Respondents for the rehabilitation of Shankar to a suitable wildlife sanctuary that houses other African elephants. The petition also asks the CZA to submit a rehabilitation and translocation plan for all captive elephants held in zoos across India in order to implement CZA's aforesaid 2009 circular.
The Petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Raj Panjwani, and by Advocates Ishma Randhawa and Dhananjay Grover of Law Chambers of Randhawa & Grover. Youth for Animals (YFA) Founder, Nikita Dhawan, in a press statement, said, 'I'm grateful that the Justice D.N. Patel has accepted to hear our petition for Shankar. This is the first but monumental step for recognizing the rights of Shankar and other captive elephants like him. According to Article 51 (g) of the Constitution of India, it is our duty to protect our natural environment and have compassion for living creatures. I hope our efforts as young advocates are a step towards honoring this duty.'
YFA had initiated a campaign to free Shankar, the lone African elephant who has been in solitary confinement in the NZP for 16 years. Shankar was a diplomatic gift from Zimbabwe and was named after President Shankar Dayal Sharma. In October 2021, YFA sent a detailed letter backed by scientific studies as well as legal provisions to the NZP seeking the release of Shankar to a sanctuary with other African elephants. During the same time, YFA also took the campaign public through an online petition on Change.org (the petition has received over 50,000 signatures as of date). Having received no response from the NZP, YFA subsequently sent a representation to the Prime Minister's Office regarding the same matter. In addition, the petition has been supported by several Bollywood personalities like John Abraham, Pooja Bhatt and Manoj Bajpayee. (ANI)
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