Mankind is the most advanced animal species on the planet. They established the institution of the ‘State,’ which gave rise to the concept of ‘Rights.’ Certain interests were deemed so significant that they were given the status of Rights.
A right is meaningless unless it is accompanied by a commensurate obligation. There should be someone who is banned from interfering with a person’s enjoyment of a right against whom a person enjoys the right.
Human beings can be held accountable for the actions of their decisions since they are capable of making them. Is this corollary, however, applicable to animals? Is it reasonable to expect animals to follow human rules?
Why Animal Rights is in News?
Thousands of animals are murdered every year in India, either to feed the non-vegetarian populace or to be used in medical trials. Sections 428 and 429 of the Indian penal code make cruelty to animals a punishable offence.
It is critical to put animal protection regulations into place as quickly as possible. Even though animals do not speak the same language as people, they experience the same range of emotions.
Recently a judgement was given by the Delhi High Court on the 1st of July 2021 representing the sets of rights and obligations a stray animal will have in respect and have given certain guidelines which need to be followed by the citizens of the locality. Because the animals also have a Right to Live.
Judgement by Delhi High Court:
- The Delhi High Court has urged the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to allocate places in conjunction with Resident Welfare Associations for serving stray dogs in the capital city, stating that canines have a legal right to live a life with sympathy, love, and humility.
“Community dogs (stray/street dogs) have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed community dogs but in exercising this right, care and caution should be taken to ensure that it does not impinge upon the rights of others or cause any harm, hindrance, harassment and nuisance to other individuals or members of the society,” said Justice J.R Midha in an order.
- Furthermore, it said:
“Every dog is a territorial dog and therefore the street dogs have to be fed and tended to at places within the territory which are not or less frequented and sparingly used by general public and residents.
- The Court stated that such bodies must be aware of the fact that such dogs are territorial beings, and that it is the responsibility of the AWBI and RWAs to ensure and keep in mind that community dogs live in packs, and that care should be taken by the AWBI and RWAs to see that each pack has different designated areas for feeding, even if that means designating multiple areas.
- The Court has also ordered that residents, RWA members, and dog feeders act in peace with one another and not in a manner that causes unpleasant situations in the colony.
- The Court further stated that canines must be sterilized and vaccinated before being reintroduced to the same location, and that the Municipality cannot remove the vaccinated and sterilized dogs.
- “Every RWA should develop Guard and Dog alliances, and the dogs can be taught to be successful as guard dogs while remaining amicable to the village’s residents in conjunction with the Delhi Police Dog Squad.”
Case Laws and Provisions relating to Animal Rights:
Karnail Singh vs. State of Haryana:
The Punjab and Haryana High Court proclaimed all animals to be legal entities, as well as declaring Haryana people to be persons in Loco Parentis (in the place of a parent) to the animals. The court went on to say that legal personhood isn’t just for humans.
Urvashi Vashist v. Residents Welfare Association
In the case, a woman from Vasant Kunj came to this Court requesting assistance in feeding stray dogs without being harassed. The Court underlined and observed that the guidelines relating to stray dog feeding are clear; however, in order to remedy the issue, the Court directed the AWBI, RWA members, and the SHO to meet and discuss stray dog feeding and take necessary measures.
- Sections 3 and 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, coupled with Article 51A(g) of the Constitution, provide that animal have the right to exist in a healthy and clean environment, as well as the right to be protected from humans inflicting undue pain or suffering.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and Rules adopted under Section 38 of the Act, including the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, make it illegal for an individual, RWA, or estate management to remove or transfer stray dogs.
It is the role and obligation of the RWA or Municipal Corporation, as well as all government officials, including law enforcement such as the police, to provide all support and ensure that careers and feeders of community dogs are not inconvenienced.
Every Resident Welfare Association or Municipal Corporation (in the absence of a RWA) is bound by the responsibility and obligation to ensure that every community dog in every area has access to food and water in the absence of caretakers or community dog feeders in the area.