Ban imposed on bull and buffalo fights

Himachal Pradesh High Court– Imposing a ban on all types of buffalo and bull fights in the State, the division bench of D.C. Chaudhary and T.S. Chauhan JJ, held that such practice of bull fights across the State is against the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (hereinafter Act) and declared that the rights guaranteed to the bulls under Sections 3 and 11 of the Act cannot be curtailed except under Sections 11(3) and 28 of the Act. The Court further directed the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Government to take steps to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on the animals as their rights have been statutorily protected under Sections 3 and 11 of the Act.

In the instant case petition was filed by an animal rights activist stating that bull fights were being held in different parts of the State contrary to the provisions of the Act. While the respondents have contended that activities like bull fights have already been banned and in the cases reported in Districts Hamirpur and Mandi, appropriate action as per the provisions contained under the Act had been taken.

The Court extensively referred to Animal Welfare Board of India v. Nagaraja, (2014) 7 SCC 547 wherein the Supreme Court interpreted the object and scope of the Act and stated that “Rights so conferred on animals are thus the antithesis of a duty and if those rights are violated, law will enforce those rights with legal sanction.” The Court further observed that the Parliament is expected to make necessary amendments in the Act so as to provide adequate penalties and punishments in cases of violation of Section 11 of the Act. The Court also stated that Parliament is expected to raise the rights of animals to that of constitutional right as done by many of the countries around the world, so as to protect their dignity and honour. Sonali Purewal v. State of H.P.,  decided on 21.07.2015

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