Stringent action should be taken against those who violate the laws under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, a single judge at the Madras High Court has said.

Justice B. Rajendran made the observation while dismissing a petition filed by Naseerulah, whose 24 heads of cattle were seized by Coonoor police on April 16, 2010, while being transported illegally to Kerala for slaughter.

Twenty-one, out of the 24 cattle confiscated by the police, died within six months in the custody of Tamil Nadu Ecological Animal Protection Society (TEAPS), due to internal injuries sustained at the time of illegal transportation, TEAPS authorities told the court.

The cattle were seized after they were found crammed into a single lorry, at the time of transportation. One of the animal was pregnant at the time of its seizure and death.

Terming the case as ‘pathetic’, Justice Rajendran held the vehicles used in such inhuman acts should also be dealt under the Motor Vehicles Act and that the licence of the vehicle driver should be cancelled. “The object of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 is only to prevent animals from being put to cruelty and that it is imperative for the authorities concerned to implement the Act. I only fervently hope that hereafter, these laws which are provided for preventing cruelty to animals will be implemented in the strict sense”, the judge said.

He also expressed concern over the transportation of cattle, which, in many instances, were in complete violation of the legal provisions, even as they are being carried out with the knowledge of the enforcing authorities. “Unfortunately, even when there are so many provisions (to prevent illegal transportation of animals), we find that these people transported the animals without following the rules and regulations,” he noted.

“When there is a specific ban with regard to slaughtering of cows and the post-mortem certificate indicates that the animals sustained injuries due to inhuman treatment, the custody (of the cattle to the owner) cannot be given,” Justice Rajendran ruled.

He also held that Section 102 of the CrPC empowered the police to seize animals for offences under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Mr. Naseerulah moved the High Court after a lower court rejected his plea seeking return of the seized cattle. He claimed he did not commit any offence and that he was the legitimate owner of the cattle.

While the vehicle was returned to the owner, the cattle were not restored to him, he said. “The finding of the lower court that the petitioner is not entitled for return of the cattle is well-founded and correct,” Justice Rajendran said and dismissed his plea.