The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday sought response from the state government on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking formation of an animal welfare board while claiming that cruelty on animals, especially cows, was is on the rise in the recent past.
The PIL alleged that such a board was formed in 2008, but it remained only on papers.
A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi admitted the PIL and asked the government pleader to seek instruction from the government on the matter and file a reply in two weeks. The PIL, filed by NGO Ahimsa Mahasangh through lawyer N M Kapadia, has alleged that atrocities on animals, particularly cow slaughter, have risen in the state in the recent past. It said that from 2010 to 2015, a total of 52,161 cows or its progeny were rescued while being transported for slaughter in different parts of the state.
Besides, 7,551 people were arrested on charges of possessing beef or slaughtering cows, and 3,450 vehicles impounded for carrying cows or beef.
Kapadia said that the these numbers were based on the Gujarat Assembly records.
He said that the government announced to form an animal welfare board following a 2008 Supreme Court order directing state governments in this regard. However, he said, nothing has been done to make it work.
The petitioner said that no arrangements were ever made to select its members. According to the PIL, a board was constituted by the state government in 1991, but it was closed after a three-year tenure and has not been revived since then.
The PIL also sought direction to the government to form a board headed by the agriculture minister and having as its members two MLAs, a director of municipalities, a chief conservator of forest, two municipal commissioners, eight members of NGOs working for animal welfare, 11 members of panjrapoles (animal shelters) and a member from the Animal Welfare Board of India.