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SC to decide if exotic pet birds have a right to fly

The debate will see the apex court consider, on one side, the right to livelihood of thousands of pet shop owners, and on the other, the right of the birds to live freely.

The debate will see the apex court consider, on one side, the right to livelihood of thousands of pet shop owners, and on the other, the right of the birds to live freely.  

The debate will see the apex court consider, on one side, the right of pet shop owners, and on the other, the right of the birds to live freely.

Are exotic pet birds safer in cages or do they have a fundamental right to fly? This is the cardinal question the Supreme Court has agreed to answer.

The debate will see the apex court consider, on one side, the right to livelihood of thousands of pet shop owners spread across the country, and on the other, the right of the birds to live freely.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu on Friday admitted a challenge to a May 2011 order by the Gujarat High Court, which had held that caging of birds amounted to illegal confinement and curbing of their fundamental right to move.

The High Court had ordered to release all caged birds. This meant that anyone could file complaints against bird sellers and pet shop owners and have them booked under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Wildlife Protection Act.

The 2011 High Court order was based on a clutch of petitions filed by bird sellers, demanding interim custody of birds confiscated by the Surat Police.

Representing separate petitions filed by Pet Lovers Association and a Surat resident, Jalalbhai Mohamad Ajam Sheikh, senior advocate Salman Khurshid and advocate Imtiaz Ahmed said the Gujarat High Court order declaring that birds have a fundamental right to fly was flawed and required to be set aside.

They argued that safeguards were already provided under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, to protect these birds. There was no requirement for any kind of licence or permission for keeping exotic birds.

“Birds and animals can play a positive role in the improvement of health problems and can be psychologically comforting to human beings,” the petition said.

The petitions also alleged that NGOs have misused various animal welfare legislations on the strength of the Gujarat High Court order. It also sought the apex court to ban ringing, tagging and stamping of birds.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 3:07:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-to-decide-if-exotic-pet-birds-have-a-right-to-fly/article7900881.ece

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