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People for Animals v. State of Kerala

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 – Clauses in any bye-law or agreement, that have the effect of absolutely prohibiting a person from keeping a pet of his/her choice in a residential unit occupied by that person, should be treated as void and unenforceable in law.

Consequently, resident owners’ associations and resident welfare associations shall desist from putting up notice boards and signposts prohibiting the keeping or entry of pets in their respective premises. This declaration shall be seen as one operating in rem and this judgment as one covered by Section 41 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The Registry shall send a copy of this judgment to the Chief Secretary of the State who shall, in turn, take immediate steps to issue necessary instructions to the newly re-constituted State Animal Welfare Board, the administrative departments of the State, and to its law enforcement agencies, so that complaints brought to their notice by the citizenry, as regards infringement of the rights declared in this judgment receive immediate attention and resolution. The State Government shall also take note of the suggestions in this judgment for the purposes of cultivating a healthy respect for animals among the people in our State. [Para 11]

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 – those clauses in the bye-laws of resident associations, that seek to prevent owners/occupiers of residential apartments from keeping pet animals of their choice in the residential apartments owned by them, or accessing the elevators and common facilities in the apartment buildings, are illegal, unconstitutional and unenforceable in law.

We believe the time has indeed come to nudge our citizenry into respecting the claims of other living beings that too have rights in our shared ecosystem. Compassion and empathy are the very essence of civilization and we must strive to preserve these values as part of our culture. It is often an inadequate understanding of the subject that fuels one’s intolerance to that ‘other’ and hence the State and its institutions of governance must take appropriate measures to inculcate a spirit of accommodation towards animals amongst our people, preferably by introducing animal awareness programmes at the school level in the State. [Para 10]

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 – the court has a duty under the doctrine of parens patriae to take care of the rights of animals, since they are unable to take care of themselves as against human beings.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 – Sections 3 and 11 of the PCA Act recognize five freedoms as inherent in all animals viz.

1. Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition.
2. Freedom from fear and distress
3. Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort
4. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
5. Freedom to express normal patterns of behavior

and the above five freedoms are, for animals, akin to the rights guaranteed to the citizens of our country under Part III of our Constitution.

Case Law Reference

  1. Prakash v. State of Kerala, 2020 (2) KLT Online 1011
  2. Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, (2014) 7 SCC 547
  3. Basheshar Nath v. CIT, AIR 1959 SC 149
  4. Behram Khurshed Pesikaka v. State of Bombay, (1955) 1 SCR 613

Citations : (2021) 11 KCC 378 : 2021 (6) KLT 267 : 2021 (6) KHC 221