SC issues notice to Centre on PIL over ‘toothless’ animal cruelty law
The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Centre on a petition seeking its intervention to address cruelty to animals and their exploitation in the pet shop industry.
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra was hearing a writ petition filed by NGO Angel Trust that said the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act has not been amended since 1960 and does not identify cruelty to animals as a penal offence. The maximum punishment the law prescribes is Rs 50 and no jail term.
The bench issued a notice to the ministry of environment, forests and climate change on the plea which also sought guidelines and regulations regarding punishment for animal abuse and administration of the pet shop industry.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, told the bench the Law Commission has given a detailed report regarding animals being cruelly treated in pet shops. The panel said breeders and pet shops violate provisions of animal welfare law and recommended regulation of the practices.
The perpetrators take advantage of the “toothless legislation” and “lackadaisical enforcement,” the public interest litigation (PIL) read. It cited recent incidents of brutality to animals including the March 20, 2016, incident in which a man, caught on CCTV, was seen stabbing three stray dogs and a puppy to death outside Green Park Metro Station in south Delhi.
“The facts that lead to the cause of action for the present petition is the alarming rise of instances of barbaric animal cruelty and inhuman exploitation in pet shop industry, which occur due to a vacuum in law with respect to animal abuse and exploitation,” the petition said.