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Animals Rights: The Most Overlooked Topic

India is to be known as a land where the all the diversities are being protected and worshipped all over the world. Animals are one of the best companions for human beings, but on the other hand they are victims of major cruelties, such major exploitation gives rise to one single question whether animals also have their own right to life. In recent times, after numerous discussion and debates the majority are in the opinion that animals also have a right on their life. When we look into legal factors, there have been acts established for exploitation.

Available Animal Rights?

There is no debate on the rights of human but animal�s rights have always been a hot topic for discussion and debate as well. Before going in-depth it�s important to understand who are being termed as animal, there are two important central laws which recognizes animals, according to section 2(1) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, it clearly states that animal includes amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles, and their young, and also includes the eggs of birds and reptiles And Section 2(a) of the same act elaborates the definition of the animals as, any creature.

Evolution Of Animal Law

Due the backdrop incidents over the last half century the has assumed an increasingly importance for animals protection, the evolution of animals law can be traced by to 1960 when the cruelty to animals for finally criminalized under the:
Prevention of cruelty to animals act (1960), though there were certain exception made for the treatment but after the recognition of this act in 1960 the animals welfare board of India ensured the anti-cruelty. Later, in the year 1962, the animals welfare board managed to set up as the principle regulatory body, provisions were enforced just to protect the well-being of all the animals.

This led to many enactments the breeding of and experiments on animals rule was passed in 1998 which sets general rules for breeding and using animals for research. In recent amendment in 2013 banned the usage of living animal�s experiments in medical education. Moreover, in 2014 India was recognized as the first country in Asia to ban all testing cosmetics on animals and import of cosmetics tested on animals.

Article 51A (g) elaborates the fundamental duty of every citizen:

(g) To protect the natural environment like forest, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for all the living creatures.

In order to extend the protection of animals rights and wellbeing, another remarkable legislation was passed, which was most significantly focused on the legislation on wildlife protection which is based on the ecosystem approach and a regulatory regime of command and control in the wild life protection act. The prime focus of this enactment was to control and prevent the practice of smuggling and illegal dealing of wildlife.

Section 428 and 429 of Indian penal code (IPC) exclusively deals with the crimes committed against the non-humans, which reads as:

428 states that mischief by killing or maiming animals of the value of 10 rupees.- anyone who commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless any animals or animals of the value of10 or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment for two years, or with fine, or both.

429 elaborates that mischief by killing or maiming any cattle, etc., any animals of the value of 50 rupees.�anyone who commits mis�chief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless, any elephant, camel, horse, mule, buffalo, bull, cow or ox, whatever the value thereof, or any other animals of the value of 50 rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment for up to five years, or with fine, or both.

Regarding the abuse and cruelty comes with the consequences. With regard to this subject it recognizes all sorts of cruelty which is specified as cruel was, in any circumstances provided under section 11 (a) to (o) of the prevention of cruelty of animals act, 1960, divides the offences in two category, in first category if any offence is been committed, offender will have to pay fine which may be extended to 50 rupees and in the situation of second category offence committed within three years of time span, he will be fined which must not be not less than 25 rupees but may be extended to one hundred rupees or with the imprisonment for a period of 3 month or both.

There are uncountable organizations of animals rights activists who work all over world to protect these non-human, listing down some:

  1. Animals Aid
  2. Uncages campaigns
  3. Animals justice project
  4. PETA
  5. People for animals
These organization strive to develop policies for the improvement of standard of living of care and wellbeing, there also work to end animal�s abuse, there are many people who are engaged in ethical treatment of animals on the other hand there too many instances where abuse happens and through their multi-pronged approach they improve the lives of animals. Basically, protecting animals in the wild and creating a better quality of life for animals.

The Constitution Of India And Animals Law

The supreme law of India which lays down the fundamental political code, rights and duties of every citizens, directive principles of state policies, structure and powers of governmental institution.

This establishes a constitutional supremacy i.e. the Indian parliament cannot amend the basic structure of the constitution. The Indian Constitution also recognized the sanctity of animal�s life and lays down protection and treatment of animals with dignity as a fundamental duty of every citizens, which is evidently enclosed in following parts are:
  1. Fundamental Rights

    Any breach of fundamental right is consider to be severe and the Supreme court of India is approachable in regards to that under article 32 for constitutional remedies. It is also pertinent to animal�s welfare under article 21, right to life.

    Article 21, right to life states that:
    No person shall be deprived of his or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
    In respect to animals rights, the Supreme Court has brought some animals under the ambit of the to life through an extensive reading on very popular (the Jallikattu case); Animals Welfare Board of India v. A Nagaraja & ors, supreme court ruled in the favor of AWBI and by upholding the enforcement of ban on jallikattu. It held that article 51A (g) of the constitution is the magna carta of animals rights and also made several observation relating to the safeguard the life of animals under article 21 of Indian Constitution.
  2. DPSP

    The directive principles of state policy (DPSP) unlike the fundamental rights, the DPSP cannot be challenged in any court. Moreover, it is the duty of states to enforce them for constitution of a society. There are three directive principles form the foundation of state policies on animal�s welfare in India, enlisted as followed:
    Article 48, states that:
    The state shall endeavor to organize agriculture and animals husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving all the existing breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and all cattles.

    There have always been a debate amongst the constituent assembly of the constitution regarding article 48 have to be included as a fundamental right. In respect to prevent non-hindus from consuming, the constituent assembly ultimately accepted the provision as a DPSP instead.

    Article 48A:
    Clearly enumerates that it shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
    This article basically tries to place an obligation on part of state to protect the environment and wildlife. While just not judicially enforceable. This article is covered under the ambit of Article 21

    In a renound case of M.C Mehta (2002) case PIL(public interest litigation) heard by supreme court in the matter of sir pollution in Delhi. The observation was made by the Supreme Court regarding Article 48A and public health and held that:
    Article 39, 47 and 48A by themselves and collectively cast duty on the state to secure the health of the people, improve public health and protect and improve the environment.
  3. Enumerated Fundamental duties

    The fundamental duties unlike fundamental right of the citizens are enumerated under article 51A (part IV-A) of the constitution. This article was inserted after 42nd amendment of 1976 to bring the Indian Constitution in accordance with article 29(1) of the universal declaration of human rights. While it cannot be enforced in courts

Article 51A, states that:
It must be the duty of every citizen of India:
(g) To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for all the creature;
(h) To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry.

In the case of Mirzapur Moti kureshi Kassab jamat (2005) case, it was held by the Supreme Court that the only motive behind the inclusion of article 51A was for it to be read with article 48 and 48A.

Attainable Legal Action:
There are powerful recognized laws in place which protects animals
  1. Indian Penal code:

    Section 428 which provides punishment for killing, poisoning, maiming irrespective of the fact if they are simple or rigorous, it attracts the punishment for up to two years, or with a fine, or both and whereas section 429 states the punishment for any killing, poisoning, maiming, or rendering useless any animals or animals of the value of 50 Rs or upward (includes all cattle�s beast of burden irrespective of the fact if they are simple or rigorous, it attracts the punishment of up to 5years, or with a fine, or maybe both.
  2. The wildlife Protection Act (1972)

    It tries to prohibit injury to any wild animals or tress under section 39, attracts the penalty for the person who is held guilty for an offence under this particular act is imprisonment for a term of three years, or with a fine of 25Rs, or both. In the case of second offence committed, the term of imprisonment will be seven years with fine of ten thousand rupees.
  3. The prevention of cruelty to animals act, 1960

    The definition of cruelty is specifically provided under sec 11 (a) to (o). Which clearly includes: cruelty against the person�s own pet, inhumane slaughter, inhumane transportation, inhumane living condition, tail docking, and ear docking. The person who committed the crime will have to compensate with a fine which shall extend to 50 rupees. In case of second offence, then he�ll be fined with not less that 25Rs but which may extend to 100 Rs or with the imprisonment for up to three months or both.

In recent time, our judiciary have been actively working towards taking magnificent steps taken towards animals. The scope for justice for brutality caused to non-human is been widen. The only problem is that no citizen wants to fight for animals. There are rules which tries to protect the dignity of non-human. There is huge possible due to the recent developments and discussion that humans and non-humans will be treated equally and there will be no scope for discrimination.

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