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Judiciary

Calcutta High Court asks Bengal to rename Lions ‘Akbar’, ‘Sita’

By Rintu Mariam Biju      23 February, 2024 10:52 AM      1 Comments
Calcutta High Court asks Bengal to rename Lions Akbar Sita

CALCUTTA: “Why cause controversy”, the Calcutta High Court today asked the West Bengal government while hearing a plea seeking to rename the lions named ‘Akbar’ and ‘Sita’.

"We aren't talking about the names of the pet animals of an officer of the zoo department. But you are a welfare and a secular State why should you draw a controversy by naming a lion after Sita and Akbar”, Justice Saugata Bhattacharya said. 

The Court was considering a plea moved by the Bengal wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) challenging the forest department's decision to keep a lion named 'Akbar' with a lioness named 'Sita' in the same enclosure at Safari Park, Siliguri from Sepahijala Zoological Park in Bishalgarh, Tripura. 

While hearing the plea, the court asked the advocate appearing for the state government whether he would name his own pet after a Hindu God or Muslim Prophet. 

“Mr Counsel, will you yourself name your own pet after some Hindu God or Muslim Prophet ... I think, if any one of us would have been the authority, none of us would have named them as Akbar and Sita. Can anyone of us think of naming an animal after Rabindranath Tagore?”

Sita is worshipped by a large section of people in the country and Akbar was a secular Mughal Emperor, the judge opined while urging the state government to rename the lions. 

"You could have named it Bijli or something like that. But why give such names of Akbar and Sita?”, the Court further added. 

The Court was apprised by the West Bengal government that the naming of the two lions was done by the Tripura Zoo authorities in 2016 and 2018, much before their transfer to Bengal.

It was further submitted that the VHP’s writ petition would not be maintainable as there was no element of the petitioners’ personal rights involved and that the state itself was looking into the possibility of renaming the lions.

Reportedly, while releasing the matter from its list, the Court granted the petitioners liberty to amend their pleadings in the form of a PIL and file the same. The Registry was then redirected to re-number and place it before the appropriate bench. 



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Rintu Mariam Biju graduated from the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi after comp...Read more



John Doe
Jacob Chacko Feb 23, 2024

Justice Saugata Bhattacharya would have done the justice, if he had ordered the ban on the use of any religious deities name as the names for mankind and animals. It is epitome of absurdity to invoke irrelevant matters for the consideration and thus making precious time of litigants with genuine grievance wasted. Most of the litigants approach Courts as final straw in their endeavour to get their grievance redressed. With one gazette publication the names of cities and towns were renamed in utter disregard to the fact that the prevailing names of such places for hundreds of years. Government machineries including higher Judiciary should give importance to truth,virtues and Justice when it matters the redressal of grievances

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