Observing that the Supreme Court had recognised “five fundamental rights of animals and birds” in a judgment issued last year, the Delhi High Court has issued a stay against a recent trial court order under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The trial court had allowed several small birds seized by the Delhi Police to be given back to their “owners”.
“Coloured photographs have been filed on behalf of NGO People for Animals (PFA), which show that the birds were kept in small cages. It is not sure whether their wings and tails were cut or not. No order was passed to release them. I have been informed by the counsel for the petitioner that more than thousands of birds are subjected to pain as so-called owners. They are put into small cages and sold in the commercial market, despite their statutory and constitutional right to live with dignity,” the court of Justice Manmohan Singh noted in its order on Friday. PFA had filed a complaint with police in October 2014 against a pet shop owner near Moolchand hospital, leading to the seizure of almost 400 birds.
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The trial court had allowed the plea of the shop owner to get the birds released. PFA then challenged the order in the High Court through its counsel advocate S D Windlesh.
“Birds have fundamental rights, including the right to live with dignity, and they cannot be subjected to cruelty by anyone. Therefore, I am clear in mind that all the birds have fundamental rights to fly in the sky and no one has no right to keep them in small cages for the purposes of their business or otherwise. The petition requires consideration,” the court said while issuing a stay on the release orders.
“After hearing both sides, the court is of the view that running the trade of birds is in violation of the rights of the birds. They deserve sympathy. Nobody cares as to whether they have been inflicting cruelty or not…,” the court said.
The court has now issued notice to police to respond to PFA’s plea.