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The brutal attack on Shaktiman has seen sympathy flow from all quarters. While Shaktiman deals with his injury and political parties try to blame each other, and the police trying to fix the charge of cruelty – our concern is a bigger issue. Have you ever wondered what would be the quantum of punishment for the guilty? It pains us to understand that the culprit would get way with a mere fine of 50 rupees for hitting the horse. Cruel incidents like these highlight the need to revamp the animal laws existent in our country which has not been revisited for more than six decades.
The fact that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA Act) has not been amended since its inception has a crippling effect in serving its purpose, which is to prevent pain and suffering of animals. The current provisions, with penalties, are abysmally low that it has failed miserably to deter animal abusers. Reiterating that while the PCA Act was a strongly worded law for 1960 when it was drafted, it has failed to protect animals.
Animal abusers have continued to take advantage of the obsolete act to continue to inflict unfathomable amount of cruelty on animals and go unpunished.
In a landmark judgment Animal Welfare Board of India Vs. A. Nagaraj, the Supreme Court of India has directed the government to amend the PCA Act in order to- make it an effective deterrent. However, nothing has moved further in this regard.
As per the directions of the Supreme Court, the Animal Welfare Board of India [AWBI] has prepared a Draft Animal Welfare Bill and has submitted it to the Minister for Environment and Forests for making it the much needed Animal Welfare Bill, 2014 and the file is gathering dust at the ministry.
There are a million Shaktimans in our country cutting across species and until we make the laws stringent, these events of cruelty against animals would only continue and increase. Humane Society International/India is leading the effort to bring about a new animal welfare bill that will put greater focus on increasing the penalties on animal abusers.
If the political parties really want to help, they need to work to increase the penalty now.
The Logical Indian urges our parliamentarians to discuss and amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 at the earliest.