ANIMAL CRUELTY AND JUDICIAL INTERVENTION
Author: Priyadharshini. R
Not only human beings but also animals have the right to live on this earth. Animals need to be treated on par with humans in terms of protection and welfare. Animals are often tortured, abused, mutilated, legally hoarded, and killed. Cruelty is not just restricted to physical harm but also psychological harm. Animal cruelty means subjecting animals to an environment where it feels scared, unprotected, and terrorized. Animal brutality is increasing day by day. People kill and ill-treat animals just for their satisfaction and fun.
There are innumerous examples of animals being ill-treatment and torture. A recent incident where a pregnant elephant in Kerala was made to consume a firecracker-infused pineapple finally succumbed to death after 4 days. Eight men gang-raped a pregnant goat in Haryana. A 35-year-old man had sex with a dog in Kolkata and was later arrested. A medical student in Chennai threw a 5 months old puppy off the terrace.
Despite many special enactments like the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, Wildlife Protection Act 1972 there is a prolific increase in the number of cases relating to animal cruelty each day.
LEGISLATIVE MEASURES TO CURB ANIMAL CRUELTY
(1) Directive Principle / Fundamental Duties
It is contained in Article 48(A) and 51(A)(g) of the Constitution of India mandating the State and Citizens of the Country to protect and safeguard the natural resources and wildlife.
(2) Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960
This is often referred to as PCA Act which is considered to be the most inclusive law in force in India in recent times. This act was enacted mainly to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals. This Act deals with the duty of persons having charge of animals, powers and functions of the Animal Welfare Board, punishments for offenses, experimentation with animals, and restrictions to be imposed on performing animals.
(3) Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
This act prohibits the sacrifice of animals. The latter is considered to be the property of the Government. Section 51 provides a penalty for the offense of cruelty to animals.
(4) IPC Application.
Section 428 and 429 of IPC can be invoked in case of mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming, or rendering useless animals. The infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering to the animals is prohibited under the above sections. Under Section 268 of IPC, the public nuisance will also include unnecessary harming and killing of animals. Right to life and legal personhood under Article 21
Legal personhood professes the equal treatment of animals at par with human beings. There was a rising demand for bringing animals under the Right to life circle ensuring equal justice to them in case of any act of cruelty or abuse.
JUDICIAL ACTIVISM ON ANIMAL CRUELTY
SC extended the right to life to animals under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, conferring them with the right to live a life with intrinsic worth, honor, and dignity.
Narayan Dutt Bhatt v. Union of India & Ors.
In 2018, a landmark move was made for the recognition and protection of nonhuman animals’ rights.
The HC of Punjab and Haryana recognized all animals in the animal kingdom as legal entities.
RatilalPanachand Gandhi and ors. v. State of Bombay and ors
“A religion is not merely an opinion, doctrine or belief. It has its outward expression in acts as well…. Religious practices or performances of acts, in pursuance of religious belief are as much a part of religion as faith or belief in particular doctrines.”
N.R. Nair & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.
Kerala HC held that S.22 of PCA is an absolute necessity to prevent animal cruelty. Circus owners refrain from training or exhibition of certain animals. If there is the infliction of unnecessary harm and suffering on the animal is brought to the notice of the Government, then it will be prohibited.
In the pandemic situation of COVID-19, in every country, millions of mice,cats, dogs, rabbits,etc are the ones on whom the trial is being done to bring out the present vaccines. The horrible environment to which these animals are exposed are so terrific which ultimately lead to the death of those animals. The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 2014, prohibit animal testing for cosmetic products all over India. We are getting a ray of hope from judiciary side as all the decisions given by the hon’ble courts are huge steps for the welfare of the animals. There is a need to address with this serious issue and work for the development of it without leaving its trace on future generations.
Animal Welfare Board of India V. Nagaraja&Ors, Civil Appeal No. 5387 of 2014 Narayan Dutt Bhatt v. Union of India & Ors., Writ Petition (PIL) No. 43 of 2014 Karnail Singh &Ors. V. State of Haryana, CRR-533-2013 RatilalPanachand Gandhi V. The State of Bombay &Ors, 1954 AIR 388 SCR 1035 N.R. Nair &Ors. V. Union of India, Civil Appeal No. 3609-3620 of 2001