India and Animal rights

Posted by Pradumna Tripathi
December 24, 2017

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In the present time we hear many movements across the world in the favour of animal rights . In ancient time there was no talk on the rights of the animals perhaps there was sanction on them . In Athens there was rule to punish animals if they commit a crime . But in the present developed society all justice systems across the world consider human being as most important element of crime . A crime can only be committed by a human being or by a legal personality. Animals are not punished but prevention methods are applied on them .

Under article 21 of the constitution no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law . The supreme court has in Animal welfare Board of India vs. A. Nagaraja & others (jallikattu case) , extended the rights guaranteed under article 21 of the constitution to all living beings . The supreme court in the said case emphasized on each animal’s right to live with intrinsic worth , honour and dignity under article 21 of the constitution .

The constitution mandates the state to endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forest and the wildlife of the country. Parliament has sought to harmonise the statutory framework to include the prevention of animal cruelty as well as the maintenance of food standard and safety through the statues , as the ” Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960 ” has been enacted with objectives of prevention of unnecessary pain or suffering of animals and lays down responsibility of the person in charge of the animal to take all reasonable measures to ensure their well-being .

Here are some important points regarding the animal rights-

1. It is the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to have compassion for all living creatures. Article 51A(g).

2. To kill or maim any animal, including stray animals, is a punishable offence. IPC Sections 428 and 429.

3. Abandoning any animal for any reason can land you in prison for up to three months. Section 11(1)(i) and Section 11(1)(j), PCA Act, 1960.

4. No animal (including chickens) can be slaughtered in any place other than a slaughterhouse. Sick or pregnant animals shall not be slaughtered. Rule 3, of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (Slaughterhouse) Rules, 2001 and Chapter 4, Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011.

5. Stray dogs that have been operated for birth control cannot be captured or relocated by anybody including any authority. ABC Rules, 2001.

6. Neglecting an animal by denying her sufficient food, water, shelter and exercise or by keeping him chained/confined for long hours is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 3 months or both. Section 11(1)(h), PCA Act, 1960.

7. Monkeys are protected under the Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972 and cannot be displayed or owned.

8. Bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers, lions and bulls are prohibited from being trained and used for entertainment purposes, either in circuses or streets. Section 22(ii), PCA Act, 1960.

9. Animal sacrifice is illegal in every part of the country. Rule 3, Slaughterhouse Rules, 2001.

10. Organizing of or participating in or inciting any animal fight is a cognizable offence. Section 11(1)(m)(ii) and Section 11(1)(n), PCA Act, 1960.

11. Cosmetics tested on animals and the import of cosmetics tested on animals is banned. Rules 148-C and 135-B of Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945.

12. Teasing, feeding or disturbing the animals in a zoo and littering the zoo premises is an offence punishable by a fine of Rs. 25000 or imprisonment of up to three years or both. Section 38J, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

 

13. Capturing, trapping, poisoning or baiting of any wild animal or even attempting to do so is punishable by law, with a fine of up to Rs. 25000 or imprisonment of up to seven years or both. Section 9, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

14. Disturbing or destroying eggs or nests of birds and reptiles or chopping a tree having nests of such birds and reptiles or even attempting to do so constitutes to hunting and attracts a punishment of a fine of up to Rs. 25000, or imprisonment of up to seven years or both. Section 9, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

15. Conveying or carrying animals whether in or upon any vehicle, in any manner or position which causes discomfort, pain or suffering is a punishable offence under two Central Acts. Section 11(1)(d) Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (Transport of Animal) Rules, 2001 and Motor Vehicles Act 1978.

Below are some landmark judgement on this issue.

1. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals Vs. Union of India

A film wishing to use an animal needs to obtain a No Objection Certificate from the Animal Welfare Board of India as pre-requisite for certification from the Central Board for Film Certification: Bombay High Court.

In 2006, the Bombay High Court passed an important ruling, wherein any film meant for public viewing, in which an animal is used and/or filmed, has to obtain a certificate from the Animal Welfare Board of India, stating that the provisions of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 have been duly met. This ruling safeguards animals from being exploited or ill-treated during the period of film making, which can extend across several hours. The ruling prevents animals from, among other abuses, being exposed to loud, strange sounds, beaten or kept without food and water.

2. Shri. Ajay Madhusudan Marathe Vs. New Sarvodaya CHS Ltd

As a consumer, a society cannot prohibit a resident from having pets and utilising his/her facilities for pets: Consumer Forum, Delhi

The Consumer Court ruled in favour of a resident who complained that the co-op society in which he resided had passed a resolution preventing dogs from making use of the building’s lifts. The society passed this resolution on the basis that the dog was not a consumer and his usage of the lift could result in the spread of diseases and hence could be disallowed from using the society’s facilities. To this, the Court declared that the owner, being a member of the co-op housing society, was a consumer and hence, was well within his rights to bring his complaint to the Consumer Court. In addition, the dog bore a valid Kennel Club of India licence, was registered with the Municipal Corporation and had been issued a Health Certificate by the Bombay Veterinary College. This ruling reiterated that residents couldn’t be prevented from having pets and those pets were not to be banned from using lifts.

3. Ozair Hussain Vs. Union of India

Packaging of food, drugs and cosmetics to contain a red dot (non-vegetarian origin) or green dot (vegetarian origin) to indicate the origin of the product: Supreme Court

Taking cognizance of the freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India as well as Article 10(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Delhi High Court declared that the packaging of products including food, drugs (except those that are life-saving) and cosmetics must contain information regarding the items’ vegetarian or non-vegetarian origins. Any article of food that contains whole or part of an animal, but not including milk or milk products as an ingredient, must be identified by a brown circle within a square outline. Likewise, all vegetarian food is to be identified by the presence of a green circle within a green square outline. The rationale behind this judgement was that a citizen’s freedom of expression also extended to his/her food choices and hence, this ruling would enable citizens to make informed choices about the products they consume.

4. State of U.P Vs. Mustakeem and Ors

Custody of animals, in cases of cruelty, shall not be given to the accused but to the nearest gaushala or pinjrapole, until the conclusion of the trial: Supreme Court

In the state of Uttar Pradesh, in a case where goats were found to be transported for slaughter in a cruel manner (they were tightly bound to each other, which was against the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960), an FIR was filed against the owner. However, the UP High Court returned custody of the animals to the owner while the matter was under litigation. On appeal, the Hon’ble Supreme Court declared that the animals were supposed to be confiscated from the owner and housed in a gaushala, under the care of the state government who was given their charge for the duration of the case. With this ruling, the Court made it amply clear that once an animal was removed from a person’s care on grounds of cruelty to his/her charge, the animal would not be returned until the case was resolved.

5. Gauri Maulekhi Vs. Union of India and Ors

Strict implementation of prohibition of cattle smuggling across the border for Gadhimai animal sacrifice in Nepal. Additionally, several welfare recommendations shall be adopted: Supreme Court

In 2014, the Hon’be Supreme Court banned the illegal transport of cattle to Nepal for the Gadhimai festival, which played an important role in bringing down the number of animals sacrificed that year. Prior to this, the Sahastra Seema Bal worked with the petitioner to draft a set of regulations related to animal markets, cattle markets and creating infrastructure for cattle, thus creating a set of recommendations that the court certified. In passing the order, the Supreme Court declared that these recommendations would have to be adopted.

6. Nair, N.R. and Ors. Vs. Union of India and Ors

Bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions shall not be trained or exhibited as performing animals: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court upheld a notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forests stating that bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions shall not be exhibited or trained as performing animals. When the notification was challenged in the Supreme Court, the court declared that animals suffer cruelty as they are abused and caged to make them perform, and therefore, this contravenes the PCA Act, 1960. It also dismissed the argument that the petitioners’ right to carry out any trade or business under article 19(g) of the Indian Constitution was violated as those activities that caused pain and suffering to the aforementioned animals would not be allowed.

7. Animal Welfare Board of India vs. A Nagaraja and Others

Bulls cannot be performing animals. Jallikattu and other animal races and fights are prohibited: Supreme court

When the Supreme Court banned the practice of Jallikattu in 2014, it alluded to various sections of the PCA Act, 1960, which addresses unnecessary suffering of animals. Alluding to Section 3 and Section 11, the Hon’ble Court declared that all animal fights incited by humans are illegal, even those carried out under the guise of tradition and culture. The Court also listed various recommendations, among them an overhaul of the penalties and punishments in the PCA Act, 1960, so as to allow it to function effectively as a deterrent in cases related to animal cruelty.

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