Supreme Court on Monday has asked the Centre government to either withdraw or amend the rules notified in 2017 in connection to confiscating the animals of traders or transporters during the pendency of trials under Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act, calling them contrary to law.
The top court bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justice A S Bopanna, and Justice V Ramasubramanian stated that if the Centre will not withdraw or amend the rules, the court will stay them. The bench also stated that animals can only be confiscated when the person is convicted under Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act.
The bench stated, “Animals are a source of livelihood. We are not talking about pet dogs and cats. People live on the basis of their animals. You can’t confiscate them and keep them before the man is convicted. Your rules are contrary. You either withdraw it or we will stay it.”
Additional Solicitor General Jayant K Sud reiterated that the rules of 2017 have been notified as atrocities were being committed on animals.
“We are trying to tell you that the section is very clear that only the person who is convicted can lose the animal. You either amend the rule or we will stay it. We cannot have a situation where the rule is running contrary to the express provision of the Act,” the bench said.
ASG Sud sought some more time from the court to submit the response on the matter. The bench has posted the matter for January 11.
On May 23, 2017, The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017 were notified which are framed under Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act, 1960.
The 2017 rules allow a magistrate forfeit the cattle of an owner facing trial under the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act and the animals are later sent to infirmaries, ‘gaushalas’ and ‘pinjarapole’ and offered for adoption.