The Delhi High Court, last week, directed the authorities to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978.
The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar further directed, "The respondents shall ensure very prompt action upon every complaint received regarding illegal transportation of the animals in violations of the aforesaid legal provisions including the FIRs already registered by them."
The Court was hearing a Petition alleging violation of Rules 47 to 56 of the 1978 Rules by widespread illegal transportation of cattle. It had contended inter alia that requisite certification from a veterinary expert is not being obtained prior to the animals being herded together in transport and moved from one place to another.
The Petition had, therefore, demanded a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Animal Welfare Board of India, Delhi to issue guidelines to be followed by the Police when it is approached with such complaints. It had also prayed that guidelines be issued for Courts of Magistrates dealing with such cases. Further, it had demanded that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) be directed to set up raiding teams to curb illegal transport of cattle and enforce the 1978 Rules.
At the outset, the Court emphasized on the importance of issues raised in the Petition and observed, "It cannot be denied that the issues flagged by the writ petitioner are important and that the requirement with the statutory provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 as well as Rules 47 to 56 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978 is mandatory. No violation thereof can be countenanced."
It also took note of a Standing Order issued by the Delhi Police for ensuring compliance of provisions of the 1960 Act. The Petitioner had, however, alleged that even though the Standing Order has been put in place, the same is not being complied with.
The Court then opined that the affidavits placed before it did not disclose compliance with the existing legislations and observed, "None of the affidavits filed before us has disclosed any aspect of compliance with the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 as well as Rules 47 to 56 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978 thereof. None of the authorities have placed before us any prosecution or punitive action against even a single person for violating the same. To say the least, not a single instance of violation of statutory provisions has been pleaded in the counter affidavits.
The petitioner has placed some photographs of actual instances of violations and has also referred to twenty one First Information Reports registered by the Delhi Police. Action on these complaints deserve to be taken."
It, therefore, dismissed the Petition, directing compliance with the existing provisions.