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Against The Provisions

It may well be considered as a victory of Animal Lovers over Animal Haters. The Government of India has prepared a draft to amend the 60-year-old Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA). The Draft Amendment has proposed a penalty of INR 75,000 or up to five years in jail or both, if an act of an individual or an organisation leads to an animal’s death. The existing Act allows anyone to get away by paying a penalty of just INR 50 for injuring or killing animals.

According to sources close to the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, three types of violence have been mentioned in the draft: minor injury, major injury leading to permanent disability, and death to an animal due to cruel practice. In some cases, the offender may have to pay a penalty of three times the value of the animals in question.

According to a senior official of the Ministry, it is not that the Government plans to amend the decades-old Act only because the amount of penalty is less in the existing Law. The fact is that there is no mention about the nature of cruelty to animals in the current Law. The amended Law would have the provision of imprisonment of the offender, if the animal perishes because of those heinous pieces of action.

Animal lovers believe that many criminals escape punishments because of loopholes in the existing Law. In 2020, member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament Rajiv Chandrasekhar had urged the Government to amend the Law, saying that “beating, kicking, killing, torturing, starving (especially of dogs), overloading, overriding and mutilating an animal were very common in the South Asian Nation”.

Meanwhile, Indian Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Giriraj Singh said: “The need for amending the PCA, 1960 by introducing more stringent penalties has been recognised by the Government. The Draft Amendment worked out includes increasing monetary penalties and punishment provisions.

Around 316 cases, related to cruelty to animals, are pending in various courts across India. While 64 such cases are pending in Supreme Court, 38 are pending in Delhi High Court. Among the Indian Provinces, the highest number of pending cases is in Tamil Nadu (52), followed by Maharashtra (43), Kerala (15), Karnataka (14), Telangana (13) and Rajasthan (12). A total of 199 out of the 316 cases – related to cruelty to animals – have been pending for more than five years.

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