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Supreme Court to examine Kerala Act on Animal, Bird sacrifices

Kerala Act on Animal: The Supreme Court (SC) will examine the Kerala Animals and Bird Sacrifices Prohibition Act of 1968 after a petition was filed in SC against some of the provisions.

Kerala Act on animal

What are the Constitutional Provisions for Animals?

  • Article 48 under the Directive Principles requires the State to take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
  • Article 48A under Directive Principles places a duty on the State to endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
  • Fundamental duty under Article 51A(g) every citizen is required to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures.

Important Judgements on animal rights:

  • Supreme Court in 2014 Animal Welfare Board of India v. Nagaraja and Ors Case extended to animals Article 21 (the Right to Life) of the Indian Constitution, conferring the right to live a life of intrinsic worth, honor, and dignity with the aim of preventing animals from arbitrarily and unlawfully being deprived of their rights.
  • Similarly the Uttarakhand HC conferred personhood to animals in 2018 in the case of Narayan Dutt Bhatt v. Union of India & Ors.
  • On May 31st, 2019, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, in the case of Karnail Singh and others v State of Haryana, recognized all animals in the animal kingdom, including avian and aquatic species, as legal entities. 
  • All citizens of the state of Haryana were declared persons in loco parentis (in place of a parent), which will enable them to act as guardians for all animals within the state of Haryana.

Kerala case:

  • The PIL was filed by a group of shakti worshippers for whom animal sacrifice is an integral part of the worship and thus comes under the domain of “essential religious practice” which they are allowed to do as per Article 25 of the constitution which guarantees freedom of conscience and also the free profession, practice and propagation of religion. 
  • The Kerala act prohibits sacrifice of animals and birds to please a deity in a temple but it allows killing for personal consumption.
  • It is this arbitrariness in killing that is being challenged in SC as currently direct consumption is lawful but sacrificing in front of deity and then consuming is unlawful.
  • The SC will also relook at Section 28 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 that does not make killing of animals for religious purposes an offence.

The appellants said if killing of animals and birds was to be prohibited, let it be so for all purposes – religious or otherwise.

 

  1. Q) Increased incidents of Man- Animal conflict has highlighted the need for a comprehensive legislation that requires stringent implementation. Comment.