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PIL Filed In SC To Declare Entire Animal Kingdom As 'Legal Entities' & Humans As 'Loco Parentis'; Issue Guidelines For Animal Protection [Read Petition]

Akshita Saxena
11 Aug 2020 6:09 AM GMT
PIL Filed In SC To Declare Entire Animal Kingdom As Legal Entities & Humans As Loco Parentis; Issue Guidelines For Animal Protection [Read Petition]
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The People's Charioteer Organization, an Allahabad based NGO, has moved the Supreme Court seeking inter alia, declaration of the entire animal kingdom including avian and aquatic species as "legal entities" having a distinct persona with corresponding rights of a living person.

The PIL, filed through Advocates Shashwat Anand and Devesh Saxena, is aimed at preventing animal cruelty by strengthening animal protection laws in the country.

"Lately, a couple of cases of cruelty towards animals have come to light in the past few months which have raised questions as to how humans have absolutely no respect for animals' lives and how can they can be absolutely devoid of sympathy. Such incidents have further enraged many and made one ponder as to whether the laws in existence are sufficient enough to protect animals from possible abuse and cruelty," the plea states in the backdrop of Kerala's Elephant Tragedy, sale of dog-meat in Nagaland, etc.

It has therefore been urged before the Court to declare all the Citizens of India as "persons in loco parentis" for the protection of animals from cruelty and abuse and to ensure their welfare.

Reliance has been placed on the decisions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Karnail Singh & Ors v. State of Haryana, and of the Uttarakhand High Court in Narayan Dutt Bhatt v. Union of India & Ors., whereby all animals in the animal kingdom were recognized, as legal entities and all citizens of these states were declared persons in loco parentis (in place of a parent).

The Petitioner has also drawn the Court's attention towards dearth of government data or any public record to track cases of Animal Abuse and Animal Cruelty in India.

"The NCRB reports, for reasons beyond one's imagination, choose not to publish specific data related to crimes against Animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Also, NCRB reports do not contain any separate records of statistical data related to crime against Animals under Section 377, 428, 429 of IPC. There is absolutely no mention of any statistical data related to Animal Cruelty in Annual Reports of Ministry of Environment or any other ministry and the only relevant data available with Ministry of Environment," the Petitioner has pointed out.

On this note it has been prayed that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) be directed to report and publish data and statistics relating to animal cruelty/ crimes against animals, including cases reported and convictions ordered thereupon, under various penal statues in the Annual NCRB reports.

Lastly, the Petitioner has expressed grave concerns over probable "sadistic evolution" of perpetrators of animal cruelty, and it is contended that they are very likely to harm humans as well.

"Acts of cruelty to animals are often indicative of a deep mental disturbance and often, animal abusers move on to harming humans. A psychological disorder known as "Zoosadism", where a person derives pleasure from inflicting cruelty to animals, clearly establishes the link between animal abuse and more violent conduct.

… In such circumstances, laws that impose a fine of Rupees 50 won't even teach the offender a lesson, let alone prevent others from acting the same way. Such light laws are not only harmful to our society and our animals, it has certain legal implications as well," the Petitioner asserted.

It has therefore urged the Court to:

  • direct all the States and Union Territories to take appropriate measures/ steps for the mandatory registration of FIRs under relevant penal provisions contained in the IPC and the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960, whenever any incident of animal cruelty surfaces or comes to light on social media or otherwise;
  • direct the Central Government to form an Independent Committee monitored by the Supreme Court, consisting of members from all the relevant departments/ ministries of the Government, which can review the entire legal framework and find pitfalls in the existing legal framework in order to curb the menace of Cruelty against Animals, so as to enable rehauling of the existing legislative mechanisms;
  • issue and frame guidelines in order to fill the gaping legal lacunae with an objective to ensure and implement effective and purposeful legal framework for the protection and welfare of Animals in India, in exercise of its inherent power under Article 142 of the Constitution, in the interest of justice and fairness.

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