19 July 2022 6:55 AM GMT
The Calcutta High Court recently expressed deep displeasure at the lackadaisical attitude of police authorities in investigating the case relating to a 'missing pig' which was forcibly taken away from the Kalyani Court premises.A Single Judge Bench of Justice Shampa Sarkar observed,"The paramount consideration in this investigation should be to protect the interest of the animal, apart...
The Calcutta High Court recently expressed deep displeasure at the lackadaisical attitude of police authorities in investigating the case relating to a 'missing pig' which was forcibly taken away from the Kalyani Court premises.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Shampa Sarkar observed,
"The paramount consideration in this investigation should be to protect the interest of the animal, apart from protection/security of court compound. Well-being of animals has been statutorily recognized. The right to get protection from unnecessary pain or suffering, is a right guaranteed to the animals under Section 3 and Section 11 of the PCA Act read with Article 51- A(g) and (h) of the Constitution of India."
Facts of the Case:
The petitioners are some of the members of the Kalyani Bar Association. They alleged that a piglet, which had been rescued and brought up by them, was forcefully taken away by some miscreants. The pig stayed in the court compound. In the afternoon of 25th March 2022, four anonymous persons entered the Court premises and forcefully took away the animal in a car. The entire incident was video-recorded in a mobile phone by a security guard and forwarded to the police. Subsequently, the police authorities registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on 2nd April, 2022.
The petitioners argued that forceful removal of the animal from its familiar surroundings and from the custody of the persons who looked after it, amounted to cruelty. They urged that provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 should have been invoked.
The Court cited the decision of the Apex Court in Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, wherein it was held that freedom from fear and distress is a right in case of animals. Applying the principle herein, the Court held, when the pig was forcefully removed from its surrounding by unknown persons, the rights guaranteed to it were violated.
While expressing resentment at the insouciant behaviour of the police, the Bench remarked,
"Prima facie, this Court finds substance in the contentions of the petitioner. The police authorities ought to have conducted the enquiry with more seriousness. Although, the statements of the security guards were recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, whether attempts were made to track down the accused persons, are not reflected from the report. From the photographs clicked by the security guards, the identity of the miscreants could have been ascertained."
The Court then proceeded on to direct the Superintendent of Police (SP), Ranaghat Police District, to supervise the investigation henceforth and to take appropriate steps in this regard. Further it observed, "What has to be borne in mind is that the society has to protect the animals, from cruelty. It is a fundamental duty. This is not a case that the civic body had removed the animal, for maintenance of hygiene etc."
Again, the Court expressed shock that unknown persons entered into the Court compound and took away the animal, without any resistance. It observed that security of the Court complex is also an issue, which has to be looked into. The police authorities were directed to keep a strict vigil so as to avoid recurrence of such incidents in the future.
Case Title: Atasi Chakraborty (Majumdar) & Ors. v. The State of West Bengal & Ors.
Case No.: WPA No. 11566 of 2022
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 269
Order Dated: 15th July 2022
Coram: Shampa Sarkar, J.
Counsel for the Petitioners: Mr. Shibaji Kumar Das, Advocate
Counsel for the Respondents: Mr. Bhaskar Prasad Vaisya & Mr. Mrinal Kanti Ghosh, Advocates
Click Here To Read/Download Order