Inflicting any form of cruelty on animals and getting away by paying a penalty of just Rs 50 for such an offense may soon be a thing of the past with the Centre mulling making the law more stringent.
Union animal husbandry and dairying secretary, Atul Chaturvedi, told TOI that his ministry is “actively examining the issue related to increasing the existing penalties for cruelty to animals by amending the existing law”.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960 currently stipulates a penalty between Rs 10 and Rs 50 for any act of cruelty against animals, including beating, kicking, torturing, starving, and mutilating the animal.
Under the 60-year-old law, none of these actions amounting to animal cruelty, as recognized under Section 11(1) of the PCA, are cognizable except organizing fights and shooting matches that use animals.
The proposed amendments to it will also make such offenses cognizable. Besides animal rights activists who have been demanding such amendments for years, 12 MPs including Union minister of social justice and empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot and seven other ruling BJP members too have recently flagged the issue of “unreasonably low penalties” in the existing law to the Union animal husbandry and dairying minister Giriraj Singh.
Urging Singh to bring in stricter penalties for cruelty to animals and recognize the “cognisability of offenses” under the law, the MPs in their letters underlined that such low penalties defeat the purpose of the Act. They also flagged that the quantum of penalties has not been reviewed even once in the six decades of the existence of the PCA.
The MPs who wrote to the minister include Anubhav Mohanty of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Mohammad Jawed and Vivek Tankha of the Congress.
Chaturvedi said, “Whenever the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) receives any cruelty related complaint, they issue advisories to chief secretaries, director-general of police, district magistrate and local police.”
He, however, refused to comment on circus and battery cages issues at this stage, saying “these are under examination by the Delhi high court and hence sub-judice”.
Source: The Times of India
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