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  Animal abusers get away with paltry fines

Animal abusers get away with paltry fines

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Jul 8, 2016, 4:51 am IST
Updated : Jul 8, 2016, 4:51 am IST

As per Article 51A(g) of the Constitution of India, it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to show compassion towards all living creatures.

As per Article 51A(g) of the Constitution of India, it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to show compassion towards all living creatures.

Violators of animal welfare rules in India, however, get away cheap, with a fine of Rs 10 extending to Rs 50 as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, if they are first-time offender like Gautam Sudarshan and Ashish Pal, medical students from Chennai who recently threw a dog from the terrace of a building for fun and recorded the video.

If they commit the crime again in the next three years, they can be fined a maximum of only Rs 100 or three months imprisonment.

Chickens tied up and hanging upside down on scooters, cattle crammed into trucks — giving rise to the infamous term “cattle class” — cock fights organised by legislators themselves, animals in zoos being harassed by visitors, pets abandoned by their owners and cases of street animals being maimed or ill-treated are all illegal as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and other laws. However, booking of cases in such issues and convictions are rare.

This year in May, to a question asked by two MPs in Parliament about statistics on animal cruelty in last three years, the ministry of environment provided data of just nine states, excluding AP and Telangana. The figure was 24,353 cases in which 35,915 persons were convicted.

Member of Animal Welfare Board of India’s (AWBI) and managing director of Humane Society International — India, Mr N.G. Jayasimha said, “It is cheaper to pay the fine for violation of animal cruelty rules than travelling in an auto to the court for legal proceedings. Animal rights activists have met many Parliamentarians over the years asking for passing of the draft Animal Welfare Act but to no avail.” He added, “Even when police nab culprits and activists go to court and secure punishment, they have to watch the culprits laugh away their efforts by paying Rs 50 as penalty. AWBI itself was sidelined when Mr Prakash Javadekar was Union minister for environment and forests as last year just Rs 8 crore was given to AWBI, which used to get around Rs 50-80 crore annually.”

The Centre is yet to pass the draft Animal Welfare Act proposed first in 2011 and revised in 2013 which increases penalty for first time offences to Rs 10,000 or imprisonment up to two years.

For subsequent offences, the fine would be Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh or with imprisonment of one to three years. Apart from this it gives more power to the AWBI, makes all offences under the Act cognizable etc.

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad