Calcutta High Court

Calcutta High Court: In a writ petition filed by Vishwa Hindu Parishad, objecting the naming of a lioness as “Sita,” alleging that it hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus and infringed upon their right to religion, a single-judge bench comprising of Saugata Bhattacharya, J., has urged the State to set an example by renaming the lions and avoid naming animals after figures that are revered and respected in society.

In the instant matter, the West Bengal government informed the Court that the names “Sita” and “Akbar” were given to two lions at the Bengal Safari Park by the Tripura Zoo authorities in 2016 and 2018 respectively, before the lions were transferred to the Bengal Safari Park in Siliguri. The petitioner filed the present petition urging the Court to direct Bengal Safari Park to change the name of the lioness to a name not connected to the Hindu religion.

The Court reclassified the plea as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and emphasised that naming animals after religious deities, historical figures, or revered personalities is not appropriate and urged the State to choose uncontroversial names for animals in public parks and zoos. The Court directed the State of West Bengal to consider renaming the two lions to avoid controversy and ensure respect for religious sentiments.

[Vishwa Hindu Parishad v. State of W.B., WPA 360 of 2024, order dated 22-02-2024]

Source : Press

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