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'Examine CCTV Footage': Calcutta High Court Calls For Reports From Police & Zoo Authorities On Outsiders' Entry Over Control Of Workers' Union

Aaratrika Bhaumik
31 Jan 2022 2:35 PM GMT
Examine CCTV Footage: Calcutta High Court Calls For Reports From Police & Zoo Authorities On Outsiders Entry Over Control Of Workers Union
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The Calcutta High Court on Monday took cognisance of incidents of alleged trespass at the premises of the Kolkata Zoological Garden popularly known as the Alipore Zoo over control of its employees' trade union. The police authorities and the Zoo authorities were directed to submit detailed reports in this regard by February 2 pursuant to the examination of the relevant...

The Calcutta High Court on Monday took cognisance of incidents of alleged trespass at the premises of the Kolkata Zoological Garden popularly known as the Alipore Zoo over control of its employees' trade union. The police authorities and the Zoo authorities were directed to submit detailed reports in this regard by February 2 pursuant to the examination of the relevant CCTV footage. 

Justice Rajasekhar Mantha was adjudicating upon a plea moved by BJP leader Rakesh Kumar Singh alleging that on January 24 about 600-700 persons had forcefully entered the Zoo premises even though the premises were not open to the public due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

It was contended by the petitioner that on January 24, a group of about 600-700 persons some of them with firearms and weapons had barged into the Alipore Zoo primarily through its main gate after breaking open its padlocks while others had jumped in over the surrounding walls. It was further submitted that till date such trespassers are still residing inside the zoo premises illegally. 

Taking cognisance of the grievance raised, the Court directed, 

"The Director of Zoo, shall inspect the entire Zoo premises today and tomorrow and submit a report of what he sees including the outsiders. All such outsiders shall be identified, from the regular employees."

Furthermore, the Court directed the police authorities to examine the relevant CCTV footage from January 23 till January 28 and submit a detailed report. The zoo management authorities were also ordered to submit a report after examining the CCTV footage in their possession. 

"The video footage of CC TV Camera, from 23rd January, 2022 till 28th January, 2022 shall be examined and a detailed report shall be submitted by the Police. A separate report shall also come from the Zoo Management after scrutiny of the CC TV Footage at their end. The CCTV Footage of police of 24th January, 2022, shall be made available in an unedited appropriate medium to the Zoo Authority by the Alipore/Watgunge Police", the Court underscored. 

It was furthered ordered that the reports and comments of the Zoo Authority shall be based not only on the footage received from the police but also from the footage of their own sources as available. 

The police authorities of Alipore and Watgunge Police Stations were further directed to ensure that there is no breach of peace and were ordered to attend to any request or complaint made in this regard. 

The Court noted that there are about 80 permanent employees and about 130 temporary employees in the Alipore Zoo. It was further noted that there is only one Trade Union having 74 members called "Kolkata Zoological Garden Employees Association".

"The majority members are affiliated to one political party as confirmed by the Zoo Authorities. Counsel for the State disputes the same", the Court recorded in its order further. 

During the proceedings, the petitioner argued that on receipt of information of a likely attack by the rival political group to take over the Employees Trade Union, the petitioner and the employees had warned the Management and Police but the police authorities did not take any action. Counsel for the Zoo Administration further apprised the Bench that in view of the ongoing pandemic, the Zoo is functioning only with about 50% staff.

Directing the police authorities and the Zoo management authorities to submit their reports before the Court by 11am on February 2, the Court further observed, 

"This Court is inclined to know from the police as to steps taken pursuant to the complaints received, inter alia, from the petitioner, the Zoo Management on the adjourned date, and one Poonam Thapa."

Case Title: Rakesh Kumar Singh v. Director, Alipore Zoological Garden & Ors

Click Here To Read/Download Order 


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