A constitutional perspective read with THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT, 1960.
Delhi High Court on the rights of Animals:
The judgement given on 24th June, 2021, by HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE J.R. MIDHA, in the case of DR. MAYA D. CHABLANI vs. RADHA MITTAL & ORS.
The judgement highlights the following points:
• Article 48A of the Constitution declares that it is the duty of the state to protect and make all endeavours to safeguard the forests and wildlife.
• Part IVA of the Constitution declares Fundamental Duties of every citizen of India, and one such duty imposed under Article 51A(g) is to protect and improve the natural environment.
• It is stated that the words “and to have compassion for living creature” of the said Article are very wide and important as it lays down the duty on every citizen to show kindness and love towards such non-vocal beings.
• Article 21 lays down the Right to Life and states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
• The Article has been characterised as the “procedural magna carta protective of life and liberty.” The said Article not only protects the life of human beings but also protects the life of animals.
THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT, 1960
The preamble of the act reads as, “An Act to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and for that purpose to amend the law relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals.”
Definition of Animal:
The Act gives a simple definition to the term animal, stating that, “animal” means any living creature other than a human being;
Authority under the Act:
With a view to contain animal cruelty, the Act gave the provision for the central govt to establish a board called the Animal Welfare Board of India.
Definition of Cruelty:
CRUELTY IS A VERY BROAD TERM, TO AVOID ANY AMBIGUITY OF WHAT AMOUNTS TO CRUELTY, THE ACT HAS CLEARLY DEFINED CRUELTY AND ENLISTED CERTAIN ACTS THAT WILL AMOUNT TO CRUELTY:
SEC 11 of the act defines what all amounts to Treating animals cruelly.―
• a) Beating, kicking, overriding, overloading, torturing and causing unnecessary pain to any animal.
• b) Using an old or injured or unfit animal for work (the punishment applies to the owner as well as the user).
• c) Administering an injurious drug/medicine to any animal.
• d) Carrying an animal in any vehicle in a way that causes it pain and discomfort.
• e) Keeping any animal in a cage where it doesn’t have reasonable opportunity of movement.
• f) Keeping an animal on an unreasonably heavy or short chain for an unreasonable period of time.
• g) Keeping an animal in total and habitual confinement with no reasonable opportunity to exercise.
• h) Being an owner failing to provide the animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter.
• i) Abandoning an animal without reasonable cause.
• j) Willfully permitting an owned animal to roam on streets or leaving it on the streets to die of disease, old age or disability.
• k) Offering for sale an animal which is suffering pain due to mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment.
• l) Mutilating or killing animals through cruel manners such as using strychnine injections.
• m) Using an animal as bait for another animal solely for entertainment.
• n) Organizing, keeping, using or managing any place for animal fighting.
• o) Shooting an animal when it is released from captivity for such purpose.
• Whoever commits any of the above mentioned acts,
• he shall be punishable,in the case of a first offence, with fine which shall not be less than ten rupees but which may extend to fifty rupees.
• In case of a second or subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous offence, with fine which shall not be less than twenty-five rupees but which may extend to one hundred rupees
• or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with both].
1. Ms. S. R. Ranjitha, B.A., B.L., Advocate practicing at Madras High Court, with 5 years of experience in Family and Property matters.
2. Sarfaras Feroz, 4th Year student of BBA, LLB (Hons) at Saveetha School of Law, SIMATS, Chennai.