Hearing a petition filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, the court directed the animal rights group to supply a copy of the petition to the circus within a week and directed the circus to file its response within the following 10-days. The matter will be listed for its next hearing on November 6.
In its petition, PETA India requested that the court order the seizure of the hippo and return him to his place of birth, the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, Patna, where he would be reunited with his mother and father.
PETA India Legal Associate Amir Nabi said: "PETA India is petitioning the High Court of Delhi to intervene on the hippo's behalf so that he can be returned to his home, where he'll be able to enjoy the company of his family and lead a more natural life."
The hippo was transferred to Asiad Circus in 2015. It's thought that he has since been held in isolation in a cramped enclosure, in stark violation of the CZA's minimum enclosure dimensions and guidelines for mandatory social enrichment, which state that a male hippo must be housed with a female.
Additionally, Asiad Circus' performing animal registration certificate was revoked by the Animal Welfare Board of India in 2016, and the exhibitor's application for "captive animal facility" recognition is still pending with the CZA, making its use of this hippo a flagrant violation of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, PETA said in a statement.
( With inputs from IANS )