Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench of S.C. Sharma and Virendra Singh, JJ. contemplated a petition by way of Public Interest Litigation in 2013 and sought directions to the State for necessary action to control and prevent rabies to the resident by the expanded population of stray dogs in the locality.

The Petitioner/Advocate, Mr Sanjay, submitted that State has not taken proper steps towards the management, control, and prevention of rabies caused via stray dogs and other animals. He further contested that due to the increased population of stray animals in the locality the residents were facing various problems and the safety was at stake. He has tried to highlight such issue via newspaper and requested the State to intervene. He stated that despite having forced to tackle such issues, State was inactive in managing such serious issues of health and hygiene, State cannot deny that such stray animals can bite therefore causing various diseases which are life-threatening.

The Municipal Corporation submitted a detailed action report and mentioned various measures taken such as:-

  1. Enhanced rate of sterilization of stray animals
  2. Anti-rabies vaccines
  3. Public awareness

The Corporation further submitted that, Several representatives of NGOs and officials of Municipal Corporation held Monitoring Committee meeting in 2019, wherein under proposals for deploying separate vehicle for grown-up puppies in zones where sterilization work is complete and establishment of Asara center for treatment of sick and injured dogs were made.

The Court observed that since the petition was filed, various orders have been issued regarding this matter. Court has in previous instances, directed State and Municipal Corporation to file progress report in conformity with Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and Animal Birth Controlled Dogs Rules, 2001. Court has also directed the government hospitals to ensure that the injection in respect to rabies (anti-rabies injection) was given free of cost to all persons in case they approached the government hospitals. It was observed that various action reports were filed on behalf of the government and it was ensured that proper measures were adopted, sterilization was carried out and vaccines were made available in all hospitals.

The Court held Municipal Corporation has taken all possible steps to control the population of stray dogs and its ongoing process. Resultantly, no further orders are required to be passed in the present writ petition. It further directed the Corporation to continue with the sterilization until all strays are sterilized and to start with a campaign for public awareness related to birth and control of strays, it directed State to provide a free supply of rabies vaccines for all aggrieved.[Sanjay v. District Collector, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 855, decided on 09-05-2019]

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 BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh, JJ. while deciding a pro bono publico petition, the scope of which was enlarged by the Court for protection and welfare of animals, declared entire animal kingdom as legal entities having a distinct persona.

The petitioner sought restriction on movement of horse carts/tongas from Nepal to India and vice versa. Provisions were sought for vaccination and medical checkup of the horses for suspected infections. It was submitted that there is no check on fare charged from passengers; ailing, infirm and old horses are abandoned by owners; infected horses are hazardous to humans; moreover, the tongas are overloaded that cause cruelty to animals. The High Court, while deciding the issue, took note of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, Section 11 of which defines cruelty to animals; and provision for treatment and care of animals is made in Section 35.

Reference was made to Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee v. Som Nath Dass, (2000) 4 SCC 146 where it was held that the concept ‘juristic person’ arose out of necessities in the human development, for subverting the needs of faith and society. The Court also referred to Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagraj, (2014) 7 SCC 547, which held that animal welfare laws have to be interpreted keeping in mind the welfare of animals and species’ best interest, subject to just exceptions out of human necessity. It also held the internationally recognised animal rights to be part of Sections 3 and 11 of PCA. Taking note of the conditions brought out by the petitioner, which amount to cruelty to animals, the Court declared entire animal kingdom as legal entity having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person. Further, all citizens throughout the State of Uttarakhand were declared persons in loco parentis as the human face for protection of animals. The Court issued various directions to respondents including State of Uttarakhand including, inter alia,

  • medical examination of animals;
  • fixation of maximum weight to be carried by animals;
  • issuing license to owners of horse carts/tongas;
  • not more than six persons to ride the vehicle drawn by animals;
  • fixation of time and temperature during which animals can be kept in harness;
  • ban on the use of spike stick or bit;
  • putting of fluorescent reflectors on carts and animals for identification at night;
  • providing shelters to animals;
  • appointment of veterinary doctors, etc.

The petition was disposed of in above terms. [Narayan Dutt Bhatt v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 645, decided on 04-07-2018]