The idea of Humanity is no longer confined to man; it is beginning to
extend itself to the lower animals, as in the past it has been gradually
extended to savages and slaves
- Henry S. Salt.
One must have seen people shooting birds, hurting stray dogs and leaving
harmless and innocent animals to famishment and demise or seen organizations
wrongfully testing their products on animals, animals being abused in zoos,
circus or parks for amusement and thought about whether there is an end to this
merciless routine. Recurring attacks on animals in an inhumane way only proves
the fact that the already difficult to define term humanity seems very difficult
to follow as well.
A nationwide atrocity was caused after a pregnant elephant in Kerala died as a
result of consuming a fruit-laden with explosive. As per the autopsy, the animal
suffered for two weeks before succumbing to death while being pregnant and even
in such a state of misery she did not harm or damage any property or attacked
any person. It has been referred to as a premeditated murder
by some, but
for many, it is just a common practice to protect their fields against wild
animals, especially boars.
The issue is not whether this alleged incident was a murder or an accident:
it is much greater and serious than that. The question is whether these kinds of
practices are lawful under Indian law. This is not the first time animals have
been treated with cruelty in India; just a day before the Kerala incident, the
jaw of a pregnant cow was severely hurt after being fed dough stuffed with
firecrackers in Himachal Pradesh. These incidents clearly show the difference
between Animals and Humans.
We, the humans are the Homo-sapiens classified as the highest ranking in the
animal kingdom living in the era of development who have grown in various fields
and certainly we have achieved a lot but at what cost? Is it even an achievement
for human kind if we have lost basic moral values? Have the advancements
weakened the roots of humans with nature? These questions hint to the gaps in
our society which are obstructing the overall growth of our country and which
should be taken in account.
One of the unrecognized topics in today's scenario is Animal Rights
India has a judicious collection of wildlife security laws that, with specific
modifications can change the condition of how wildlife is treated in the
Bestiality: A heinous crime
Amongst various cruelties against animals, the heinous crime of bestiality is
increasing at an alarming rate. Under Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, whoever
voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man,
woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and
shall also be liable to fine.
The Supreme Court delivered a remarkable verdict and decriminalized
homosexuality. However, the section that criminalized homosexuality has an
important aspect of it. Bestiality refers to sexual intercourse between a person
and an animal and it is a crime under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The
apex court had upheld that the law will stand on the statute book to deal with
unnatural sexual offences against animals such as bestiality. However, most
people including the police are unaware or ignorant about this.
There have been many instances of bestiality over the years. In August 2017, a
man was accused of raping a female puppy to death in Delhi. Not only did the
accused, Naresh Kumar boast about the incident to an animal lover, he also led
him to the carcass. On July 26, 2018, a pregnant goat was reportedly gang-raped
by eight men in Haryana. It was allegedly stolen, thrashed and raped by the
It succumbed to the trauma and died. Reportedly, one of the accused met the
owner of the goat and admitted that he had raped her and even said that he had a
nice time. Recently, in July 2020, a cow was allegedly raped by a 55 year old
man in Bhopal. While these cases of extreme brutality are on the rise, there is
an acute dearth of laws to shield animals from cases of sexual abuse — giving
the immoral and psychopaths the conviction to escape from the law.
Right from initial stage there is indifference in filing FIRs. Even if the FIR
is filed the question of what section of the Indian Penal Code should it be
filed under arises. While the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act, 1960 deals
with the cognizance of prospects of treating animals cruelly, including maiming,
injuring, killing, practicing phooka, experiments on animals, restricting
exhibition and training of performing animals, human parody seems to be rising
outside its present purview.
The punishment under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 is a fine
of Rs 50 or imprisonment of up to three months or both. Section 377 does not
address the extreme cruelty meted out against the animals, but only criminalizes
the penetrative sexual intercourse with an animal. The animal rights body has
urged the government to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960,
and introduce stronger penalties for cruelty to animals and make bestiality a
However, the government has maintained silence on it. Looking at the current
scenario, we should contemplate tying up humans rather than animals, if they
cannot control their urge to rape and continue their immoral acts. The animals
cannot speak up for their rights thus people should fight for safeguarding their
rights and protect them from cruelty.
Animal protection rights and laws:
The founders of the Indian Constitution were also sensitive to the topic of
animal interests and their protection which is evident from the Article 51(A) G
of the Indian Constitution which reads as:
It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the
natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have
compassion for living creatures.
In Concurrent List III, it is given that both the Centre and the State have the
force and power to:
Prevent inhumane attitude towards animals & ensure the safety of wild animals
and birds. The traces of animal rights can also be seen in Criminal Procedure
Code of India as killing, maiming, poisoning or rendering useless of any animal
is punishable under Section 428 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Under Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code any individual scaring someone else
and averting him/her, who is the proprietor of a pet, from keeping or dealing
with his/her pet can be held at risk.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960 was enacted to prevent the act of
unnecessary agony enduring on animals and for that purpose to amend the law
relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. The Act defines the word
as any living creature other than a human being. The Animal Welfare
Board of India under Section 4 of the act is set to guard animals from being
exposed to excessive torment.
Section 11 of the Act mentions the condition under which a demonstration is
perceived to be brutality against animals. The arrangement expresses that
slaughtering any animal in any pointlessly savage way is a culpable offence. The
discipline for the said offense, on account of a first offense, is fine which is
between ten rupees to fifty rupees and on account of a second or consequent
offense with fine which is between twenty-five rupees to one hundred rupees and
a maximum of three months of imprisonment on repetition of the said acts.
Section 11 (o) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act states the punishment
of any person who promotes or himself takes part in any shooting
match/competition where animals are released from captivity for shooting. Laws
relating to pets and their punishments are also found under Section 11 of the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 includes the provisions for protection of wild
animals, birds, aquatic animals and zoo animals. Section 48A of the Act rejects
transportation of any wild animal or birds aside from with the authorization of
the Chief Wildlife Warden or some other authority permitted by the State
Government. Section 49 of the Act forbids the purchase without license of wild
animals from dealers.
Section 38A of the Act accommodates basis of a Central Zoo Authority by the
Central Government, which has the accompanying capacities of indicating the base
norms for keeping of animals inside the zoo, perceive or derecognize zoos,
perceive jeopardized species and relegate duties to zoos for their hostage
rearing, and so forth. Section 16 (c) of the Wildlife Protection Act, states
the punishment for injuring or destroying wild birds, reptiles, etc. or damaging
or disturbing their eggs or nests.
Use of animals for experimentation and research in the cosmetic industry amounts
to grave cruelty. Through the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (Second Amendment) 2014,
animal testing for cosmetic items was banned all over India. Any person who
breaches the Act is liable for punishment for a term which may extend from 3 to
10 years or shall be liable to a fine which could be Rs.500 to Rs.10, 000, or
both. As per Rule 135B of the Drugs and Cosmetic (Fifth Amendment) Rules 2014,
no cosmetic that has been tried on animals shall be imported into the country.
The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on
Animals released the Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and
Supervision) Rules, 1998 (amended in 2001 and 2006) that control the
experimentation on animals. Dissecting and experimenting on animals in schools
and colleges is banned in India, under the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act.
Judiciary's attitude and approach:
The judgments given by the Hon'ble Courts over a decade in the field of animal
protection show the scope, emergence & importance of environmental law in the
current scenario. The judiciary has also raised the issue of the lack of role of
the legislature in contributing in the enactment of new rules and regulations
and modification in the current scenario is a matter of concern.
In Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja & Ors
the Supreme Court
held that animals too have the right to live with honour and dignity. Karnail
Singh and Ors. vs. State of Haryana
is revolutionary judgment in which the
judiciary took the matter of animal rights in the extent of Fundamental Rights.
The judgment goes beyond the question of the wellbeing of cows as focused in the
case but also talks about all animals, birds and aquatic species as well.
Justice Rajiv Sharma mentions in his judgment The entire animal kingdom
including avian and aquatic are declared as legal entities having a distinct
persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.
All the citizens throughout the State of Haryana are hereby declared persons in
loco parentis as the human face for the welfare/protection of animals.
The doctrine of parens patriae
which states the duty of the state to
provide protection for those who are unable to protect themselves which was
earlier limited to humans, has now also included non-humans in the range of
Every country is conducting research to make vaccine in the current scenario of
global pandemic of COVID-19 so the experiments and trials of the same are
conducted on animals. They go through a lot of suffering and after experiencing
agony almost all of them are killed. Animal testing through the Drugs and
Cosmetics Rules (Second Amendment) 2014, for cosmetic products was banned all
However, this topic needs additional attention in the current scenario and there
has not been enough contribution in this matter by the legislation or judiciary.
All the judgments given by the Hon'ble Courts are good steps taken towards the
non-human rights. The arguments presented in the judgment support animals and
declare legal rights and protection to them. A strong start to support animal
rights can be seen in the liberal judgments given recently.
However, despite there being very elaborate and detailed animal protection laws
in India; they are not properly executed. It is imperative to realize that the
legislation that we currently have in India is not sufficiently strong and
reasonable so as to make great change. The anti-cruelty parts in Section 11 of
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act can be made effective by increasing the
punishment and fine to some extent.
For real change, there needs to be a change in the minds of people, who rather
than abusing animals, should start respecting them and begin treating them
better. It is possible only through stringent rules, legislations and penalties
that such acts of violence towards animals can come to an end. The alarming rise
of such instances of barbaric animal cruelty and inhuman exploitation in the pet
industry makes it not only our legal duty but also a moral obligation to
respect, protect and prevent brutality towards any being.
- Animal Welfare Board of India vs. A. Nagaraja, (2014) 7 SCC 547
- Karnail Singh and Ors. vs. State of Haryana, CRR-533-2013
- Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
- Indian Penal Code,1860
- Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 2014
- Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998