The Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying has set December 7 as the deadline for submitting comments by stakeholders and the public on a draft Bill proposing amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960. The draft Bill contains 61 amendments that proposes to strengthen the law by prescribing stringent punishments for animal cruelty and killing. It prescribes three-year imprisonment for committing ‘gruesome’ cruelty which includes ‘bestiality’ with animals.
In fact, it proposed to insert a new Section (11(A)) which defines gruesome cruelty and prescribes severe punishment. According to the proposed section, causing permanent damage to any body part of an animal or any injury which is likely to cause death or lifelong physical deformity to the animal, or inciting any animal to fight amounted to cruelty. Besides, organising, keeping, using, or managing any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or offering any place to be so used would also be treated as cruelty.
The punishment proposed for the gruesome cruelty is a minimum fine of ₹50,000 which may be extended up to ₹75,000 or the cost of the animal as decided by the judicial magistrate concerned in consultation with veterinarians. The proposed Section 11(B) prescribes an imprisonment of three years which may extend up to five years or with a fine for those who kill an animal. It also imposes a minimum fine of ₹75,000 which may extend up to ₹1 lakh per animal or three times the cost of the animal for those who kill an animal.
The proposed Section 3A mandates that it shall be the duty of every person in charge of an animal to ensure that the animal in his/her care or under his/her charge has the freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition; from pain, injury diseases, fear, and distress, etc.
The amendment also ensures coordination amongst local bodies to take appropriate action to prevent cruelty to animals.