‘Why name lions Akbar, Sita?’: Calcutta HC asks West Bengal govt to rename

HC asked the authorities to avoid controversy

lion lioness pride Representational image | via Commons

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the West Bengal government to change the names of lion 'Akbar' and lioness 'Sita' to avoid controversy.

The Jalpaiguri Circuit Bench of the Calcutta HC asked the government to take a "prudent decision, avoid this controversy".

The Bench was hearing petitions filed by Vishwa Hindu Parishad's north Bengal unit and two other individuals. During the hearing, Justice Saugata Bhattacharyya asked whether animals can be named after gods, mythological heroes, freedom fighters or Nobel laureates.

The Judge asked, "Why should you draw controversy by naming a lioness and a lion after Sita and Akbar?"

The VHP filed the petition claiming that a lioness transferred to Bengal Safari Park in Siliguri from Tripura was named Sita and prayed that the name be changed.

Two lions were brought from Tripura's Sepahijala Zoological Park on February 12. The lion was named Akbar, the VHP said.

The Judge verbally said that such naming of the animals should have been shunned to avoid controversy.

The Judge said he did not support the names of both animals.

The court in its dictated order said that the writ petition in its present form is not maintainable, holding that it can, however, be reclassified as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

Since the naming of the two animals has already been done, Bhattacharyya granted leave to the petitioners to reclassify the petition as a PIL. The court directed that if the reclassification is done by Friday, the registry will transmit the same to the regular bench hearing PIL matters for consideration within 10 days.

(With PTI inputs)

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