Justice Manmohan Singh of the Delhi High Court recently expressed anguish over the plight of birds, which also have a Fundamental Right to “live with dignity” but were nevertheless being "exported illegally to foreign countries without availability of proper food, water or medical aid".
The Court observed that birds should be allowed to fly free and not be kept in cages or subjected to cruelty. “I am clear in mind that all birds have Fundamental Rights to fly in the sky and all human beings have no right to keep them in small cages for the purpose of their business or otherwise,” the Court said.
The High Court was hearing a petition filed by the NGO People for Animals, challenging a Trial Court order which had allowed some birds to be released to the same person from whom they were rescued on his plea. The alleged bird trader faces criminal prosecution under the Prevention of Cruelty Act.
The NGO had contended that the Trial Court had issued such an order, despite agreeing that he was not the owner of the birds. It had filed a complaint with the Police in October 2014, against a pet shop owner near Moolchand hospital, leading to seizure of almost 400 birds.
In the recent order, the High Court has noted, “Colored photographs have been filed on behalf of NGO People for Animals (PFA), which show that the birds were kept in small cages. It is not sure whether their wings and tails were cut or not. No order was passed to release them. I have been informed by the counsel for the petitioner that more than thousands of birds are subjected to pain as so-called owners. They are put into small cages and sold in the commercial market, despite their statutory and constitutional right to live with dignity,”
Granting a stay on the Trial Court order, the High Court observed, "...This court is of the view that running the trade of birds is in violation of the rights of the birds. They deserve sympathy. Nobody is caring as to whether they have been inflicted cruelty or not despite a settled law that birds have a fundamental right to fly and cannot be caged and will have to be set free in the sky.”
A notice was issued to the Delhi Police as well as the bird owner, Md. Mohazzim and sought their responses by May 28.