Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Animal Cruelty in India and what does the law say about this?

 Animal Cruelty in India and what does the law say about this?

The cruelty that people inflict on animals is well-known.

Bruno, a dog, was recently treated inhumanely in a tragic occurrence. A worldwide virtual outcry erupted in response. This is not, however, the first incidence; rather, it is one of many that go unreported. Despite anti-cruelty legislation and rules, India continues to see unnatural animal deaths all over the country. Nonetheless, India scored second in the Global Animal Protection Index in 2020, which was a surprise. 

Given the number of animal cruelty cases currently pending, it begs the question: why is it necessary to have distinct legislation for animals?

One of our primary responsibilities, according to Article 51A (g), is to maintain the natural environment and to exhibit compassion for all living species.

Furthermore, the state is obligated to conserve and improve our environment under Article 48A of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

As a result, these responsibilities are linked to animal rights. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 and the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 both have these provisions.  The following are the four main rights protected by these laws:

  1. Cruelty in General: Animals must not be beaten or tortured, according to Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (PCA Act, 1960).  This clause makes it illegal for pet owners to treat their animals cruelly in any way. Organising animal fights as a sport or entertainment is a crime punishable by a fine ranging from Rs.50 to Rs.100 or three months in prison, or both. The PCA Act addresses animal cruelty, and Sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860 make it illegal to kill or maim any animal for commercial purposes.

  2. Entertainment Restriction: Using animals for entertainment or commercial purposes is also considered cruelty and is prohibited in the interest of the animals. The act of showing or training any animals is punishable under Section 26 of the PCA Act 1960, with fines of up to RS.500. However, Section 27 provides an exception to this rule. Animals that are trained or shown for legitimate purposes such as military training or educational purposes shall be exempt from Section 26.

  3. Aquatic Animal Protection: Many people must have wondered why India lacks a dolphinarium. Dolphins are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 because they are an aquatic mammal native to India. Part II and Part II A of Schedule I of this bill contain a list of species that must be protected. With effect from May 17, 2013, India has prohibited the use of dolphins in entertainment shows or for any commercial purposes.

  4. Wild Animal Conservation: Hunting is defined by the Wildlife Protection Act as more than only killing or poisoning wild animals. Nonetheless, it encompasses activities that disrupt the lives of wild animals, such as damaging an animal's or reptile's egg or disrupting their nest. As a result, under Section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act, hunting is punishable by a fine of Rs.25,000 or up to three years in prison, or both. This Act, once again, enables hunting for specific purposes such as scientific or educational ones.

Judicial References and Animal Rights

1)Nair, N. R. and Ors. Vs. Union of India and Ors.:  Here, the Supreme court held that bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions should not be exhibited or trained as performing animals though this violates the right to carry out any trade or business which is guaranteed under Article 19(g).

2)Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja & Ors.: In the case in 2014, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment that imposed a ban on Jallikattu, a sport in Tamil Nadu. The Court extended the right to life, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, to all beings, including animals.

Are Animal Laws Effective Enough?

Sexual abuse and harming the private areas of female animals are examples of animal cruelty. The majority of the victims of these acts are stray animals.   As a result, effective enforcement of animal protection laws is impossible in the face of such heinous acts. In India, at least 50 animals die every day as a result of animal cruelty. However, because most cases of animal cruelty go undetected, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Many people are ignorant that their activities against animals are illegal, thus they are fearless. Furthermore, this harshness is frequently trivialised. Furthermore, all animal rights are ignored since the penalty for violating them are so small. A first-time offender for animal cruelty, for example, faces a fine ranging from Rs.10 to Rs.50. In many circumstances, animal protection laws fall short of sufficiently covering the scope of crime, leaving animals vulnerable to humans' callous behaviour. As a result, legislative flaws are the primary reason of rising animal cruelty in India.

Thus, it is time to make the laws even more stringent and harsh on the perpetrator. After all, the animals must be treated at par with humans and be given some fundamental rights to live peacefully.

By: Shagun Mahendroo

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