Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination (Topic: Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination

Current Affairs Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination

Topic: Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Why in News?

  • The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to either withdraw or amend rules notified in 2017 for confiscating animals of traders and transporters during the pendency of trial in cases under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, saying they are contrary to the law.
  • The top court said the rules will be stayed if not withdrawn or amended by the Centre as the law provides that animals can be confiscated only if a person is convicted under the Act.


  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde has warned the government that it would “stay” the implementation of a 2017 law which allowed authorities to seize cattle on a mere suspicion that they suffered cruel treatment at the hands of their owners or were being primed for slaughter. New rules are plainly contrary to Section 29 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, under which only a person convicted of cruelty can lose his animal.
  • These animals, the law prescribes, would then be lodged in ‘gaushalas’ as “case property” to await the court’s verdict. In short, a farmer, a livestock owner or a cattle trader loses his animals before being found guilty of the charge of cruelty.

Confiscation before Conviction

  • The 2017 Rules allow a Magistrate to forfeit the cattle of an owner facing trial under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
  • The animals are then sent to infirmaries, ‘gaushalas’, ‘pinjarapole’, etc.
  • These authorities can further give such animals for “adoption”.


  • The Buffalo Traders Welfare Association, represented by advocate Sanobar Ali Qureshi, said the Rules were being used as a tool to seize and forfeit their cattle.
  • The association said the law’s existence had emboldened “anti-social elements” to take matters into their own hands and loot cattle traders.
  • It had become a cause for polarisation in society.

Government’s Response

  • The Central government has defended law to deprive owner’s possession of their animals, including cattle, on the suspicion that they are being subject to cruelty or illegally transported for slaughter.
  • The Centre dismissed the argument that taking the animals from their owners divested them of their livelihood even before they were found guilty of cruelty by a court of law.
  • The argument that owners are deprived of their right to livelihood is not sustainable. They have no right to do their business illegally. They have to transport the animals as per the requirements of the Transport of Animals Rules of 1978.
  • Rules were in consonance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.
  • Police seized the cattle and vehicles of only those who intentionally violated the Animal Transport Rules.
  • Animals were stuffed into the back of trucks, up to 50 at a time when only six were allowed, to decrease the cost of transportation. Some of the cattle were found dead, many injured and traumatised. Such journeys were to illegal slaughterhouses.

Magisterial Order

  • The order of interim custody of the seized animals in shelters was passed by the magistrate who, in his judicial wisdom, thought that returning the animals to the winter would only further the sufferings of the animals.
  • The objective of such custody was to keep the animals safe and alive during the trial. It was like any other secure protocols followed under the Criminal Procedure Code. The expenses for the care of the animals while in the custody of shelters were met by the owners or transporters, the government contended.
  • The Rules confirmed with Sections 29 and 35 of the 1960 Act. Sections 29 and 35 dealt with the confiscation of animals, both after conviction and during the pendency of the case, respectively.
  • The penalties under the 1960 Act were low. This was the only provision which allowed for the victim animals to be removed from a traumatic situation.