Legendary India cricketer Kapil Dev and his wife have approached the Delhi High Court challenging certain provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act that allow destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers and extermination or destruction of any animal under the authority of any law.
The petition came up for hearing before a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula which granted time to the petitioners’ counsel to place certain judgments on record.
The high court listed the petition for further hearing on October 13.
Petitioners Kapil Dev, his wife Romi Dev and animal rights activist Anjali Gopalan, said the petition was being filed on account of repeated instances of barbaric treatment meted out to animals showing the “most brutal and cruel face of humanity” and the “utter effete” response of law and the law enforcing agencies.
The plea challenged section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, saying it was without deterrence and manifestly arbitrary since it trivialises life and denies animals any meaningful existence by treating their mutilation and killing as petty and frivolous acts, mocking their death through imposition of punishment of less than Rs 10.
Section 11 deals with treating animals cruelly and entails a fine which shall not be less than Rs 10 but may extend to Rs 50 in case of first offence. For the second or subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous offence, the punishment involves fine which shall not be less than Rs 25 but may extend to Rs 100 or with imprisonment for a term of maximum of three months or both.
“Section 11 is further unfair and unreasonable in so far as the exception under PCA Act which permits cruelty to animals for the purposes mentioned in Section 11(3) (b) (destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers), Section 11(3) (c) (extermination or destruction of any animal under the authority of any law for the time being in force) ,” the plea said.
It has also challenged sections 428 (Mischief by killing or maiming animal of the value of ten rupees) and 429 (mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., of any value or any animal of the value of fifty rupees) of the Indian Penal Code claiming that it is an instance of speciesism suggesting lack of moral worth or value in animals.
“The said sections of the IPC are further unfair, unreasonable and arbitrary as the same allow for treating animals as property and morally less important than humans, and since the same have an inbuilt attitude of prejudice and therefore creates an arbitrary classification thus being hit by unreasonableness,” the plea contended.
The provisions of IPC remain unavailable for protection of rights of animals against grave offences such as maiming or killing, especially when such a valuation is not possible, and in cases where the animal is a street animal and not a pet or where the animal is handicapped or has been rendered unprofitable due to old age, the plea said.