Birds have a “fundamental right to fly” and cannot be caged, the Delhi high court has said, issuing notice to an alleged bird trader and holding the trade as a “violation of the rights of birds”. A notice was also issued to the Delhi Police.
“Birds have fundamental rights, including the right to live with dignity and they cannot be subjected to cruelty by anyone…They deserve sympathy,” said Justice Manmohan Singh.
Justice Singh’s ruling -- which came on a plea by People for Animals (PFA) -- overturned a trial court order which allowed the release of birds back to Md Mohazzim from whom they were rescued. The alleged bird trader faces criminal prosecution under the Prevention of Cruelty Act.
In its plea, the NGO claimed the trial court released the birds into Mohazzim’s custody despite concluding that he wasn’t the owner. It submitted photographs to the judge that purportedly show that Mohazzim kept the birds in small cages. The pictures did not make it clear whether their wings and tails were clipped.
Justice Singh expressed anguish that instead of being allowed to fly free, birds were “exported illegally to foreign countries without proper food, water or medical aid”.
“Running the trade of birds is in violation of the rights of the birds. They deserve sympathy,” the judge noted. He posted the matter for further hearing on May 28.
“Nobody is caring as to whether they have been inflicted cruelty or not despite a settled law that birds have a fundamental right to fly and cannot be caged and will have to be set free in the sky,” the court said.
“I have been informed by the learned counsel for the petitioner that more than thousands of birds are subjected to pain as the so called owner put them in small cages and sell them in the commercial market for his vested rights, despite of statutory and constitutional right to live with dignity,” the judge said in his order.