Supreme Court questions plea for ‘legal entity’ status to animals

This means bestowing on animals, by judicial direction, the capacity to sue and be sued in courts: CJI

Updated - September 09, 2020 10:23 pm IST

Published - September 09, 2020 10:22 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned a petition seeking “legal entity” status to the entire animal kingdom.

Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde said the status involved giving animals a “legal personality.” This means bestowing on animals, by judicial direction, the capacity to sue and be sued in courts of law.

“Animals already have the protection of the law. There are laws like the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, etc. But making them a legal entity is giving them the capacity to sue and be sued ... How is that possible?” Chief Justice Bobde asked petitioner-advocate Devesh Saxena in a virtual court hearing.

Mr. Saxena made an impassioned plea that animals are considered “property.”

“But they are not equals of humans. How can they be considered your equals?” the CJI persisted.

But Mr. Saxena argued that though not in the same rung as humans in the evolutionary ladder, animals do have soul, intellect, etc.

“By your logic then even trees need to be treated as equal entities,” Chief Justice Bobde replied.

The court said it would examine the point raised by Mr. Saxena about the insufficiency of punishment in animal protection laws.

“We will look into this point on punishment not being enough of a deterrent against hurting animals,” the CJI addressed Mr. Saxena.

Chief Justice Bobde, however, told Mr. Saxena not to set too much store in his plea for a judicial declaration that animals are legal entities.

To this, Mr. Saxena said he bowed down to the majesty of the court.

The Bench issued a notice on the petition. The Central government is the respondent in the case.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.