Challenging the refusal of Kerala police to issue 'pass' for buying pet-food amid the COVID-19 lockdown, a cat-owner has filed a writ petition in the High Court of Kerala.
The petitioner, N Prakash, an owner of three cats, is aggrieved by the decision of the police to refuse him vehicle pass for purchasing cat food.
In the petition filed by him as party-in-person, he states that the cats are fed a biscuit named "Meo-Persian", since he is a vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is not cooked in his house. One packet of 7 kilogram of "Meo Persian" is sufficient for the cats for three weeks. After the stock got exhausted, he applied online for vehicle pass for travelling to Cochin Pet Hospital on April 4 for buying the said brand of cat food.
As per the guidelines issued by Kerala police, people should obtain a prior permit based on an affidavit for going out of their homes for essential services during the lockdown period.
His request was rejected by the police saying "We regret to inform that your request for affidavit/Emergency Pass is rejected".
This decision is challenged as "arbitrary and illegal" by the petitioner.
The petitioner states that right to get food and shelter is a guaranteed right for domesticated animals under Sections 3 and 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
"Right to dignity and fair treatment is not confined to human beings alone, but to animals as well", the petition states referring to the 2014 SC decision in Animal Welfare Board of India v. A.Nagaraja(Jallikettu ban case). Relying on this decision, the petitioner argues that even animals have fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
"The sad plight of the cats in the event of non-availability of the food ought to have been taken note of by the authority under the respondents and ought to have permitted the petitioner to travel to the Cochin Pet Hospital, Kadavanthara for purchasing the cat food. The rejection of the request made by the petitioner in this regard is high handed and arbitrary. The authority under the respondents cannot deprive the life of three innocent cats by his mere "Ipisi Dixit"", the petition states.
A bench comprising Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P Chaly will consider the petition on Monday via video conferencing.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has clarified that "animal feed and fodder" is an essential item, for which movement is permissible during the 21-day lockdown period declared for combating COVID-19 transmission.
Click here to download petition