said: The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be
judged by the way its animals are treated. I hold that the more helpless a
creature the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of
India as a whole is undoubtedly stepping forward in the fields of
job growth, economic growth of poor, international relations, climate change
etc., but there exists a big loophole in our legislation - Animal Cruelty
Prevention law. In 1960, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was legislated but
since then it has not even once been amended instead of continuous rising in
animal cruelty cases and on the other hand, the act of 1960 has not also been
Since the Ancient time, animals are not only treated as integral part of our
society but they are worshiped in India. According to Hindu Mythology, Cow,
tiger, lion, snake, horse elephant, monkey are worshiped. But on the other hand,
animals are being subjected to cruelty for numerous reasons such as, for meeting
with the hunger of non-vegetarian people, for experiments being conducted on
them in the labs, for entertainment purposes in the circus and for sacrifice
purposes to show the devotion etc.
Cruelty to animals in India
Cruelty to animals means animal abuse that is knowingly inflicted upon animals
by human beings for any gain.
Even after the enforcement of PCA 1960, there have been an horrific rise in the
cases of animal cruelty. Recent cases of animal cruelty includes killing of a
pregnant elephant from Kerala, a pregnant cow from Himachal Pradesh and a jackal
from Tamil Nadu. In all these incidents, the animals were fed some explosives
with some edibles. Another incident of animal cruelty is the death of Shaktiman
the police horse in March 2016.
One of the most renowned case of animal cruelty is Jallikattu event that is
being organised in Tamil Nadu. During jallikattu, participants mentally and
physically torture bulls and endanger the lives of animals and humans.
There are several laws enforced in India to curb the menace of cruelty against
animals for the safety, protection and punishment in cases of animal cruelty
such as Article 48A and 51A(g) of the Constitution of India, Section 428 and 429
of Indian Penal Code but most important laws are Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals Act (PCA) 1960 and Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
Under Section 11 of PCA act, different forms of cruelty has been defined which
are as follows:
- Beating, Kicking, Over-riding, Over-driving, Over-loading, Torturing,
Causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animals;
- Employing any animal which, by reason of its age or any disease, unfit
to be so employed, and still making it work or labour or for any purpose;
- Willfully and unreasonably administering any injurious drug or injurious
- Conveying or carrying, either in or upon any vehicle in such a manner as
to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering;
- Keeping or confining any animal in any cage or any receptacle, which
does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the
animal a reasonable opportunity for movement;
- Keeping for an unreasonable time any animal chained or tethered upon an
unreasonably heavy chain or chord;
- Being the owner, neglects to exercise or cause to be exercised
reasonably any dog habitually chained up or kept in close confinement;
- Being the owner of any animal fails to provide such animal with
sufficient food, drink or shelter;
- Being the owner, without reasonable cause, abandons any animal in
circumstances, which render it likely that it will suffer pain by reason of
starvation or thirst;
- Willfully permits any animal, of which he is the owner to go at large in
any street while the animal is affected with a contagious or infectious
disease, or without reasonable excuse permits any diseased or disabled
animal, of which he is the owner, to die in any street;
- Offers for sale or without reasonable cause, has in his possession any
animal which is suffering pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst,
overcrowding or other ill-treatment
- Mutilates any animal or kills any animal (including stray dogs) by using
the method of strychnine injections in the heart or in any other
unnecessarily cruel manner;
- Solely with a view to providing entertainment:
- Confines or causes to be confined any animals (including tying of an
animal as bait in a tiger or other sanctuary) so as to make it an object of
prey for any other animal;
- Incites any animal to fight or bait any other animal.
- Organizes, keeps, uses or acts in the management of any place for animal
fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or permits or offers any
place to be so used or receives money for the admission of any other person
to any place kept or used for any such purposes;
- takes part in any shooting match or competition wherein animals are
released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting.
If any person commits any of the acts mentioned from (a) to (o), he shall be
punishable in the case of a first offence, with fine which shall not be less
than ten rupees but which may extend to fifty rupees, and in the case of a
second or subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous
offence, with fine which shall not be less than twenty-five rupees but which may
extend to one hundred rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to
three months, or with both.
The Wildlife Protection Act 1972
is meant for the protection of wild animals and
birds, and there are provisions that safeguard the interests of the animals.
- It prohibits the sacrifice of animals, by Section 39 of the act there is
a strict prohibition on any injury to the animals and the penalty is
mentioned in section 51 of the act.
- There is also a ban on keeping any Indian bird under the act. If anybody
wishes to keep a permissible bird he has to comply strictly with Section 11
of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1956.
- Police powers: Section 50 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
authorizes a police officer to arrest any person without a warrant.
- Monkeys cannot be displayed or owned, and are protected under the
Wildlife Protection Act as well.
The major loophole which needs an immediate action is that the amount of fine or
compensation that is imposed on any offence under PCA Act is very low. The
amount of fine that ranges between Rs. 10 and Rs. 50 can not prevent the cruelty
Section 11 and 12 of the Act are cognizable but the sentence of imprisonment is
very low that is imprisonment of 3 months and punishment under Section 38 of the
Act is non-cognizable which means person cannot be arrested without
warrant. Also, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1956, there is a
provision for the requirement of setting up of a Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in every state but leaving a few states there is no
such society in the rest of the country.
The Jallikattu Case
The Supreme Court India in 2014 held jallikattu as cruelty to bulls and banned
the same, however, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment)
Act of 2017 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules
of 2017 opened the gates for running the popular bull-taming sport in the name
The Supreme Court in 2014, in a case titled - Animal Welfare Board of India v. Nagraja & Ors.
, recognized the Right to Life as enshrined under Article 21 of
the COI, to extend to animals as well.
However, PETA India conducted eyewitness investigations from 15 to 19 January
2020 at seven jallikattu events organised in the state of Tamil Nadu, exposing
more evidence of rampant cruelty to animals. Bloodshed, bullying, and burials
have kicked off 2020�s jallikattu season. While the injuries and deaths that
jallikattu causes are not always reported by the media, just in January and
February of this year alone, at least 13 humans and six bulls reportedly died
during jallikattu events and 570 humans sustained injuries. At some jallikattu
events, panicked bulls fled onto the surrounding streets, injuring onlookers and
even goring some to death. Bulls Won't Be Safe Until Jallikattu Is Banned Again.
The Uttar Pradesh government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Yogi
Adityanath, took a step by approving draft of the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Cow
Slaughter Prevention (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, to protect cows and prevent
their slaughter, providing a maximum rigorous imprisonment of 10 years and a
fine up to Rs 5 lakh. Now this ordinance calls for similar and more robust and
effective measures to be taken by the Centre in Toto.
Judiciary can play a very important role in preventing animal cruelty by
imposing the stricter punishments under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
1960 then the people will take care and will not ruthlessly kill innocent
animals. In 2011, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was amended and renamed
as Indian Animal Welfare Act as a need was felt to change the old law.
We as vigilant citizen should make the children of our society aware about the
innocence of animals and should educate them to treat animals with kindness.
Food and shelter should be provided to street dogs by government shelters, and
registered firms and NGOs to assure their safety.
Another effort should be improve the system by establishing and strengthening
the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animal, an NGO that can work in every
state separately with no interference of the state.
Written By: Neha Kumawat
Authentication No: JL30554414147-22-720