Novemer,22,2015: The Supreme Court has issued notice to Gujarat Government on a plea challenging the High Court order declaring right to fly as fundamental right of the birds which effectively banned keeping them in cage.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu sought response from the government on the PIL filed by Pet Lovers Association on the issue.
“Nobody has a right to inflict pain or suffering to others inclusive of the animals and birds. Even birds cannot be kept in cages by which they suffer a pain. To keep birds in cages would tantamount to illegal confinement of the birds which is in violation of right of the birds to live in free air / sky. For the aforesaid a specific law might not be required. It is the fundamental right of the bird to live freely in the open sky,” the Court had observed.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the association, said that there are already laws in place to protect birds who can be domesticated.
He said that the High Court order that they have the fundamental right to fly is a flawed one and required to be struck down.
The Gujarat High Court, in 2011, had held that the birds cannot be caged as they have the right to fly.
Hearing several Special Criminal Applications in May, 2011, Justice M.R. Shah of Gujarat High Court had observed, “When everybody is talking about fundamental rights of the citizen, such as, right to live freely, right to food, right to move freely etc. a day has come to think about the rights of the birds and animals, because of such act even the birds have vanished and their numbers are in decrease.”
Earlier, the court had refused to entertain an appeal against the High Court order on the ground of delay and had rather suggested to Khurshid to file a PIL instead.
Lately, Delhi High Court had observed that birds should be allowed to fly free and not be kept in cages or subjected to cruelty. “I am clear in mind that all birds have Fundamental Rights to fly in the sky and all human beings have no right to keep them in small cages for the purpose of their business or otherwise,” Justice Manmohan of Delhi High Court had observed.
Granting relief to the NGO, the Delhi High Court said, “…This court is of the view that running the trade of birds is in violation of the rights of the birds. They deserve sympathy. Nobody is caring as to whether they have been inflicted cruelty or not despite a settled law that birds have a fundamental right to fly and cannot be caged and will have to be set free in the sky.
“Birds have fundamental rights including the right to live with dignity and they cannot be subjected to cruelty by anyone including claim made by the respondent (Mohazzim).”
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Wild Life (Protection) Act,1972
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960