Committee to oversee transfer and import of captive wild animals in India: Supreme Court

The high-powered committee, led by a former judge, is tasked with the procurement or welfare of wild animals by any rescue or rehabilitation centre or zoo

March 11, 2023 04:33 pm | Updated 04:33 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Supreme Court of India.

Supreme Court of India. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Supreme Court has increased the jurisdiction and powers of a high-powered committee led by its former judge, Justice Deepak Verma, to conduct necessary checks and undertake fact-finding exercises concerning the import, transfer, procurement, rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals, including those in captivity, across India.

The ambit of the committee was earlier restricted to Tripura and Gujarat.

Now, the Chief Wildlife Wardens of the States would be co-opted as members of the committee. The panel would look into all pending and future complaints on the issue.

“The Committee may also consider the request for approval, dispute or grievance, concerning transfer or import into India or procurement or welfare of wild animals by any rescue or rehabilitation centre or zoo, by taking assistance and co-operation whenever needed from all departments and authorities across India. We also direct that all complaints in this regard may be forwarded forthwith to the High-Powered Committee for consideration and recommending appropriate action,” a Bench led by Justice Krishna Murari said in a recent order.

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The court directed that State and Central authorities should “forthwith report seizure of wild animals or abandonment of captive wild animals to the committee and the committee shall be at liberty to recommend transfer of ownership of captive animals or of seized wild animals to any willing rescue centre or zoo for their immediate welfare, care and rehabilitation”.

The other designated members of the committee include the Director General of Forests (Union of India), Head of Project Elephant Division (MoEF) and Member Secretary (Central Zoo Authority of India).

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