The Madras High Court on Wednesday granted interim relief to pet breeders by restraining the state from physically seizing dogs from their owners considering prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules 2017.
Chief Justice A. P. Shah and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy noted that the challenge raised to the Rules framed under Section 38 of the 1960 Act is that it clearly amounts to an incompetent exercise of framing a delegated legislation which is constitutionally impermissible keeping in view the nature of the definition of Entries as contained in Entry – 15 of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India which is exclusively a State subject.
“Thus, the challenge is on the ground of total incompetence with a further contention that it even travels beyond the boundaries contained in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960”, observed the division bench.
It is urged on behalf of the petitioner that the exercise is in contrast to Entry 17 and Entry 17B of the Concurrent List – that breeding not being a defined cruelty under Section 11 of the Act of 1960, there is no competence with the Central Government to frame any such Rules.
The bench also called for details as to any such challenge having been raised in any other Court and orders passed in relation thereto dog breeding and marketing rules as well as such other expert material and research documents that may be necessary with regard to breeding and possession of animals vis-a-vis cruelty in the light of impugned Rules.
However, it was of the view that during the interregnum period, “keeping in view the COVID situation existing as on today, particularly, in the State of Tamil Nadu”, it is “expedient” and “in the interest of justice” to provide interim relief to the effect that pursuant to the impugned dog breeding and marketing Rules, no further action to physically seize dog breedings from their owners shall be undertaken by the respondent State subject to any further orders in this regard.
The Court on Wednesday deemed it fit to grant time to the Centre to file its counter-affidavit before proceeding with the hearing.