Either the law needs to be amended or the court will stay its operation, Supreme Court on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rules, 2017

Background

A petition has been filed by the Buffalo Traders Welfare Association challenging the validity of the 2017 notifications allowing authorities to seize vehicles used in cattle transportation and to send the animals to gaushalas. They argued that such notifications travelled beyond the provisions of the parent law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

The petition also challenged the constitutionality of the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on May 23, 2017 for being unconstitutional and illegal.

Observation of the court

1. Animals are a source of livelihood and the Centre was warned that either it should delete the rule or the Court will stay it.

2. The rule is absolutely against the intention of the Act. The section is very clear. Section 29 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act says animals can only be confiscated if the person involved is convicted.

Held

The Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian asked the Centre to review its 2017 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rules, which provides for confiscation of cattle and vehicles used for cattle transportation, even before the person accused of offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is convicted.The case will be heard next on January 11.

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