Home Legal News Declare Animal kingdom as Legal Entities, Citizens as ‘persons in loco parentis’: Plea In SC By Allahabad NGO

Declare Animal kingdom as Legal Entities, Citizens as ‘persons in loco parentis’: Plea In SC By Allahabad NGO

by Preeti Dhoundiyal

The PIL aims in preventing animal cruelty by strengthening animal protection laws in the country. Advocates Shashwat Anand and Devesh Saxena filed the Plea.

In the backdrop of Kerala’s Elephant Tragedy, sale of dog-meat in Nagaland, etc. the plea states, “Lately, a couple of cases of cruelty towards animals have come to light in the past few months which have raised questions as to how humans have absolutely no respect for animals’ lives and how can they can be absolutely devoid of sympathy. Such incidents have further enraged many and made one ponder as to whether the laws in existence are sufficient enough to protect animals from possible abuse and cruelty.”

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The Court was urged to declare all the Citizens of India as “persons in loco parentis” to ensure the welfare and protection of animals from cruelty and abuse.

The decisions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Karnail Singh & Ors v. State of Haryana, and of the Uttarakhand High Court in Narayan Dutt Bhatt v. Union of India & Ors have relied upon whereby all citizens of these states were declared persons in loco parentis (in place of a parent) and all animals in the animal kingdom were recognized, as legal entities.

The Court’s attention towards the dearth of government data or any public record to track cases of Animal Abuse and Animal Cruelty in India was also drawn by the Petitioner.

“The NCRB reports, for reasons beyond one’s imagination, choose not to publish specific data related to crimes against Animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Also, NCRB reports do not contain any separate records of statistical data related to crime against Animals under Section 377, 428, 429 of IPC. There is absolutely no mention of any statistical data related to Animal Cruelty in Annual Reports of Ministry of Environment or any other ministry and the only relevant data available with Ministry of Environment.

Remarks by the Petitioner

The petitioners have prayed that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) be directed to highlight, report and publish data and statistics relating to animal cruelty/ crimes against animals, including cases reported and convictions ordered thereupon, under various penal statutes in the Annual NCRB reports.

Grave concerns over probable “sadistic evolution” of perpetrators of animal cruelty were also expressed by the petitioner. It was contended that as a result humans as well could be harmed.

Acts of cruelty to animals are often indicative of a deep mental disturbance and often, animal abusers move on to harm humans. A psychological disorder is known as “Zoosadism”, where a person derives pleasure from inflicting cruelty to animals, clearly establishes the link between animal abuse and more violent conduct.
In such circumstances, laws that impose a fine of Rupees 50 won’t even teach the offender a lesson, let alone prevent others from acting the same way. Such light laws are not only harmful to our society and our animals; it has certain legal implications as well.”

The Petition

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  • direct all the States and Union Territories to take appropriate measures/ steps for the mandatory registration of FIRs under relevant penal provisions contained in the IPC and the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960, whenever any incident of animal cruelty surfaces or comes to light on social media or otherwise;
  • direct the Central Government to form an Independent Committee monitored by the Supreme Court, consisting of members from all the relevant departments/ ministries of the Government, which can review the entire legal framework and find pitfalls in the existing legal framework in order to curb the menace of Cruelty against Animals, so as to enable re-establishment of the existing legislative mechanisms;
  • issue and frame guidelines in order to fill the gaping legal lacunae with an objective to ensure and implement an effective and purposeful legal framework for the protection and welfare of Animals in India, in the exercise of its inherent power under Article 142 of the Constitution, in the interest of justice and fairness.

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