HC asks zoo panel, Delhi Zoo to reply on visitors' safety

The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought a response from the city police, Delhi Zoo and the Central Zoo Authority on a plea asking to ensure the safety and security of visitors to the National Zoological Park, where a youth was mauled to death by a tiger.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought a response from the city police, Delhi Zoo and the Central Zoo Authority on a plea asking to ensure the safety and security of visitors to the National Zoological Park, where a youth was mauled to death by a tiger.

The petition was filed after 20-year-old Maqsood was mauled to death by a white tiger last month.

The man had apparently crossed the stand-off barrier and jumped into the enclosure.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw asked police, and the Delhi and central zoo authorities to file their responses by Dec 17.

The public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik asked the court to direct the authorities to take steps so that no such incident is repeated in future.

It asked direction for them to put all the contingent and emergent equipment in place in the National Zoological Park in order to rescue people under such circumstances.

It said Maqsood's life was lost because the authorities, upon whom the responsibility to protect and care rested, failed to discharge their duties and they had no emergency or contingency plans to rescue people during such an incident.

"It is a classic case of criminal negligence and it could be very well assessed as to who is responsible for the unfortunate incident. But police have registered a case of death by negligence against some unknown people, and it is apprehended that like many other cases, ultimately this case would also be closed without ensuring any action and steps for avoiding such incidents in future," the plea said.

It said the incident also reveals how unsafe the public who visit such places were.

It was also clear that the guidelines prescribed by the Central Zoo Authority were not being followed by the National Zoological Park.

The authorities concerned have been "criminally negligent and delinquent", and hence the responsibility has to be fixed, the plea added.

It also sought compensation of Rs.25 lakh for the family of the victim.