Case BriefsHigh Courts

Manipur High Court: The Division Bench comprising of CJ Ramalingam Sudhakar and KH. Nobin Singh, J., addressed a petition concerning the germane issues regarding the non-implementation of provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and further directing the implementation of the same in letter and spirit as directed by the Supreme Court.

The facts of the case raised pertinent issues on the observance of a number of dogs being found to be taken in a cruel manner in a car. The accused pleaded guilty for the act and were fined by the CJM Imphal West. Further PFA, Manipur was asked to keep the seized dogs for a period of 7 days and later the custody to be handed over to State Veterinary Hospital or any SPCA.

The concern raised in the said matter arose when PFA, Manipur stated after a month that it did not have facilities for maintaining the dogs for a longer period. In response to the same, the Director, Vety. & A.H. Services, Manipur stated that department has no scheme under which permanent or temporary shelter could be provided to the animals and birds.

Therefore, the High Court in its order directed the State Government to release Rs 30,000 and an additional sum in its further order for the maintenance of the seized dogs. Learned Amicus Curiae brought the attention of the Court on the aspect that the State Government had failed to implement the provisions of the Act and Rules as laid down by the Supreme Court.

Hence, referring to Animal Welfare Board of India v. Nagaraja, (2014) 7 SCC 547, and various other decisions of the Supreme Court concerning animal welfare, the High Court stated that the “insensibility to the issue relating to the welfare of the animals, which has been held  to be included within the meaning of the “Right to Life” is unfortunate.” Further, being conscious of the order passed, by the Supreme Courtin the case mentioned hereinabove, the present PIL stood disposed of with the direction to implement the Act and rules as directed by the Apex Court. [Effective Implementation of Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960 and its Rules v. State,2018 SCC OnLine Mani 79, Order dated 25-07-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the petition seeking compliance of Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, (2014) 7 SCC 547,  in the light of the cruelty to Bulls in the Jallikattu event, the bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and RF Nariman, J referred the matter to a 5-judge Constitution bench as it noticed that the writ petitions involve substantial questions relating to the interpretation of the Constitution of India. The present petitions challenge the validity of the Tamil Nadu Amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

The issues placed before the Constitution Bench are as follows:

  1. Is the Tamil Nadu Amendment Act referable, in pith and substance, to Entry 17, List III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, or does it further and perpetuate cruelty to animals; and can it, therefore, be said to be a measure of prevention of cruelty to animals? Is it colourable legislation which does not relate to any Entry in the State List or Entry 17 of the Concurrent List?
  2. The Tamil Nadu Amendment Act states that it is to preserve the cultural heritage of the State of Tamil Nadu. Can the impugned Tamil Nadu Amendment Act be stated to be part of the cultural heritage of the people of the State of Tamil Nadu so as to receive the protection of Article 29 of the Constitution of India?
  3. Is the Tamil Nadu Amendment Act, in pith and substance, to ensure the survival and well-being of the native breed of bulls? Is the Act, in pith and substance, relatable to Article 48 of the Constitution of India?
  4. Does the Tamil Nadu Amendment Act go contrary to Articles 51A(g) and 51A(h), and could it be said, therefore, to be unreasonable and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India?
  5. Is the impugned Tamil Nadu Amendment Act directly contrary to the Nagaraja judgment, and the review judgment dated 16th November, 2016 in the aforesaid case, and whether the defects pointed out in the aforesaid two judgments could be said to have been overcome by the Tamil Nadu Legislature by enacting the impugned Tamil Nadu Amendment Act?

The present bench had earlier, via order dated 16.11.2016 in Chief Secretary to the Govt., Chennai Tamilnadu v. Animal Welfare Board, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1397, said that there was no connection or association of Jallikattu, a festival involving bull race, with the right of freedom of religion in Article 25. It said:

“the Tamil Nadu State Legislature could not have enacted any law like the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009 as when a bull is “tamed” for the purpose of an event, the fundamental concept runs counter to the welfare of the animal which is the basic foundation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.”

In the A. Nagaraj Judgment, it was held that Bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu or bullock cart races. The bench of KSP Radhakrishnan and PC Ghose, JJ had the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009 was repugnant to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA Act) and had hence, issued a number of directions to ensure the compliance of the PCA Act. [Animal Welfare Board of India v. Union of India,  2018 SCC OnLine SC 66, order dated 02.02.2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Taking note of certain photographs which carry the caption “Kerala Politicians beat street dogs to death, hang them on a pole and take out a parade”, the Court asked the State of Kerala to file the response in that regard within three weeks. The Court also clarified that it will be an obligation of the State of Kerala to see that the orders passed by this Court are followed scrupulously and there is no public demonstration in the manner in which the photographs depict.

The Court passed these orders while hearing a petition relating to protection of people from the menace caused by stray dogs. The Court had earlier vide order dated 18.11.2015 had directed the Animal Welfare Board to file a module for the same. Out of the many aspects included in the module filed by the Board, one aspect pertains to ‘Implementation Framework for street dog population management, rabies eradication and reducing man-dog conflict”. The said module recommends that Central Coordination Committee, State Monitoring and Implementation Committees and Animal Birth Control Monitoring Committees be set up for Street Dog Population control.

The Bench of Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit, JJ asked the Union of India to file it’s response on the aforementioned module within 6 weeks from the date of this order and also asked the counsel appearing for other parties to file their suggestions or objections within 4 weeks. [Animal Welfare Board of India v. People for Elimination of Stray Troubles, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1098, decided on 04.10.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Hearing the matter relating to protection of stray dogs, the Court said that a balance between compassion to dogs and the lives of human being, which is appositely called a glorious gift of nature, is to harmoniously co-exist.

In the present case, where it was contended that a bite by a stray dog creates menace in the society and in the name of compassion for dogs, the lives of human beings cannot be sacrificed, the bench of Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh, JJ interpreted the relevant provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and said that Section 9(f) of the Act empowers the Animal Welfare Board to ensure that unwanted animals are destroyed by local authorities, wherever it is necessary to do so, either instantaneously or after being rendered insensible to pain of suffering. Talking about the power of the local authorities, the Court said that the local authorities have a sacrosanct duty to provide sufficient number of dog pounds, including animal kennels/shelters, which may be managed by the animal welfare organizations, that apart, it is also incumbent upon the local authorities to provide requisite number of dog vans with ramps for the capture and transportation of street dogs; one driver and two trained dog catchers for each dog van; an ambulance-cum-clinical van as mobile centre for sterlisation and immunisation; incinerators for disposal of carcasses and periodic repair of shelter or pound.

Listing the matter on 09.03.2016, the Court requested all the High Courts not to pass any order relating to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001 pertaining to dogs. [Animal Welfare Board of India v. People for Elimination of Stray Troubles,  2015 SCC OnLine SC 1193, Order dated 18.11.2015]