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MPs across parties urge Modi govt to hike penalty for cruelty to animals from Rs 50

Existing law 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.

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New Delhi: At least ten parliamentarians across political parties have written to Union Minister of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairying Giriraj Singh, urging the government to bring in stricter penalties for cruelty to animals.

In the past month, MPs like Anubhav Mohanty of the Biju Janata Dal; Vivek Tankha and Mohammad Jawed of the Congress; and Ranjeeta Koli, Pashupti Nath Singh, Ajay Pratap Singh, Kailash Soni and Arjun Lal Meena of the BJP have written to Singh to increase the penalty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA) 1960, from the existing Rs 50.

The MPs sent different letters to the union minister but their communications had the same content. They said, “The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 was enacted to replace a colonial legislation and sought to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering on animals. However, quantum of punishment i.e. the penalties, has not been reviewed even once in the six decades of the Act’s existence.”

“Any and all action, from beating and kicking an animal to killing it, from inciting animal fights to using animals as shooting targets, all actions are punishable with a penalty of maximum Rs. 50,” they added.

“Furthermore, none of these actions amounting to animal cruelty, as recognised under Section 11(1) of the Act, are cognisable except organising fights and shooting matches that use animals,” the MPs noted

“The unreasonably low penalties, and the failure to recognise animal cruelty to be cognisable offences by default defeats the purpose of the Act,” they added.

They requested Singh to propose an amendment to the PCA Act to “inflation correct” the penalties and recognise the “cognizability of offences under the Act”.

“I am certain that such a proposition in the Parliament will be supported by an overwhelming majority. I look forward to your necessary action,” the MPs said in their individual letters.

Also read: How People For Animals helped rescue stray animals when India was stuck indoors in lockdown

Animal welfare orgs throw wait behind MPs

Prominent animal welfare organisations like the People for Animals (PFA), Humane Society International (HSI) and the Ahimsa Trust have also thrown their weight behind these parliamentarians, and are bringing together other like-minded MPs from across political parties to urge the government to amend the decades-old Act.

Minister of State of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot also forwarded a representation by Gauri Maulekhi, Trustee at PFA, to Singh and said, “As this matter pertains to your Ministry, I am sending the same, in original, to you for taking necessary action.”

“There is no reason for a civilised society like ours to attach such little value to life. People across the country get away with inflicting the worst and most barbaric forms of cruelty on unsuspecting and innocent animals by paying just Rs 50,” Maulekhi told ThePrint.

“Lawmakers across the country are getting together to change this,” she added

Section 11 of PCA 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.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly asked the government to amend the Act so as to impose “adequate penalties and punishment” to cut down on incidents of animal cruelty.

In its judgment in the matter of Animal Welfare Board of India vs A. Nagaraja & Others in 2014, the top court had said, “Parliament is expected to make proper amendment of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to provide an effective deterrent to achieve the objective and purpose of the Act and for violations of Section 11, adequate penalties and punishments should be imposed.”

Also read: Media rumours and vicious RWAs have been worst for animals during Covid: Maneka Gandhi


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