New Delhi [India], January 19(ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of a plea filed by Buffalo Traders Welfare Association challenging the validity of certain provisions under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde adjourned the hearing for weeks after the petitioner sought time to file an affidavit in the case.
Last week, while hearing the case, the bench had said Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017, which allows seizure and of animals, including cattle, before the conviction of owner is in "dissonance" with Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
"We told you last time that rules are in dissonance with the sections. The animals are the source of livelihood for people. The section is clear that only after conviction that animals can be taken away. The Rules permit to take away animals even before conviction," the bench had asked Centre.
The bench had further observed that the sale of animals is something that is not injurious to them, and selling doesn't mean animals were being injured.
The top court had observed that animals are normally a source of livelihood and they can't be confiscated.
"Animals are normally, not cats and dogs but others are a source of livelihood. You can't confiscate them. Your rules are contradictory. You either change it or we will stay it," the bench had told Centre.
Earlier, the apex court had sought the central government's response on a plea filed by Buffalo Traders Welfare Association challenging the validity of 2017 rules which allow authorities to seize vehicles used in cattle transportation and send the animals to 'gaushalas' or cow shelters.
The petition, filed by advocate Sanobar Ali Qureshi, challenged the notification, particularly Rule 3, 5, 8 and 9, which permits the forfeitures of the animals and send the animals to 'gaushala', 'Pinjrapole' or infirmary if the owner pleads guilty or is convicted under the act.
The petition said the notification issued on May 23, 2017, on the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 should be declared as "ultra vires and unconstitutional".
According to the act, "If the accused is convicted, or pleads guilty, the magistrate shall deprive him of the ownership of the animals and forfeit the seized animal to the infirmary, pinjrapole, SPCA, Animal Welfare Organisation or Gaushala already having custody for proper adoption or other disposition."The petition has said that the transporters, cattle traders, and farmers are facing threats due to anti-social elements since the notification of the impugned rules.
"This results in frequent lootings of the animals. It is pertinent to mention that these frequent lootings are also threatening the rule of law and generally emboldening groups of persons to take the law into their own hands. Moreover, these incidents are acting as triggers for communal polarization of the society, and if not halted effectively and immediately will have disastrous consequences on the social fabric of the country," the plea added. (ANI)