Amidst controversy over restriction on sale of meat during jain festivals and total beef ban in several states, a public interest litigation has been filed in the supreme court for restraining the practice of killing of animals in the name of religion.
The PIL which Chief Justice of India H L Dattu said “will be heard in the due course” questions the practice of Qurbani during the Islamic festival of Bakr-i-Eid, ‘Bali’ (practice under Hindu religion) etc throughout the territory of India
Petitioner V Radhakrishnan, a journalist from Tamil Nadu has made the Law Ministry, Home Ministry, Environment Ministry and Animal Welfare Board of India as respondents in the PIL.
It sougha writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus declaring that the practice of animal sacrifice under the sanction of any religious belief or otherwise is unconstitutional, illegal and is violative of Article 14, 21, 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India;
Radhakrishnan wanted declaration of Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 as “unconstitutional” in so far as the same condones the practice of animal killing in the name of religion.
The Petitioner stated that extreme acts of violence is committed on animals, and more often than not by devotees who are untrained to carry out the execution of an animal in the most minimally pain causing manner.
“Further, it is submitted that these sacrifices often take place in full public view of children, and other animals, and therefore, the same is a celebration of barbaric and ancient practices that have their foundation in superstition”, it said.
The petitioner submitted that the animal rights movement must simultaneously be a moral crusade and a social movement that pursues a strategy combining idealistic objectives of abolition with pragmatic goals of embedding the values of animal rights into public policy.
“Religion cannot be allowed to become a tool for perpetuating untold miseries on animals and if anybody tries to impose its direction on the followers in violation of the Constitution or validly enacted law, it will amount to an illegal act. The extra-Constitutional bodies have no role and cannot issue directives to the followers to not obey the command of law”, said the PIL filed by advocate Ankur S Kulkarni and settled by advocate Sriram Parakkat.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 is the Act of parliament which was enacted to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and to amend the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. As per the provisions of the law the Animal Welfare Board of India was constituted as the statutory body to carry out the purposes of the Act. S.3 of the Act whichenjoins upon any person having charge of animals to take all reasonable measures to ensure the well-being of animals and to prevent infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering. Further S. 11 of the Act provides for various offences with the view to prevent the cruel treatment of animals.
The PIL said that “animal sacrifice is not an inherently integral or essential part of any religion, and the same is merely a proliferation of superstitious beliefs that were existent in religion as a result of a hampered civilization”.
Read the Petition here.