Coming, a tough law to prevent cruelty to animals. Why is it needed?

The Indian Express | 6 days ago | 24-11-2022 | 05:35 pm

Coming, a tough law to prevent cruelty to animals. Why is it needed?

The Centre has proposed to overhaul The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, introducing 61 amendments in the law, which includes three years’ imprisonment for committing “gruesome cruelty” including “bestiality” with animals.A draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Bill, 2022, prepared by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying, has been opened for public comments until December 7. Once the draft is final, the Bill could be brought either in the Winter Session or the Budget Session of Parliament.What are the main changes proposed in the law?Essentially, the law is proposed to be made tighter, with more stringent punishments. Several offences have been made cognizable, which means offenders can be arrested without an arrest warrant. The draft Bill has proposed to include “Bestiality” as a crime under the new category of “Gruesome cruelty.”The proposed subsection describes “gruesome cruelty” as any act involving animals which leads to “extreme pain and suffering” and is “likely to leave the animal in life-long disability”. It includes “mutilation or killing of animal by the use of strychnine injection in the heart or any other cruel manner that is known to cause permanent physical damage to the animal or render animal useless or cause any injury which is likely to cause death including bestiality…”.The draft proposes fines from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000 “or the cost of the animal…whichever is more or with the imprisonment of one year which may extend up to three years or with both” for the offence of gruesome cruelty. For killing an animal, the draft Bill proposes a maximum punishment of five years in jail.What is the argument for strengthening the law?In September, a doctor in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur allegedly tied a dog to his car and dragged it across the city. The dog had a fractured leg and suffered bruises. An offence such as this — fairly common in India — would currently attract charges under Section 428 (mischief by killing or maiming animal) IPC and Section 11 (treating animals cruelly) of The PCA Act, 1960.First-time offenders under the PCA Act are punished with a fine of Rs 10-50. If it is found that this is not the offender’s first such crime in the past three years, the maximum punishment would be a fine between Rs 25 and Rs 100, a jail term of three months, or both.In short, the penalty is ridiculously light in the law as it exists now, and is incapable of acting as any deterrent for potential offenders.Who has called for amendments and on what grounds?Along with animal welfare organisations, several political leaders have in the past called for the law to be amended.In 2014, the Supreme Court, in ‘Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja & Others’, had said that “Parliament is expected to make proper amendment of the PCA Act to provide an effective deterrent” and that “for violation of Section 11, adequate penalties and punishments should be imposed”.In September 2020, Kishanganj MP Mohammad Jawed brought a Bill in Parliament saying that the maximum punishment be hiked to a “fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend upto one year or with both, and in the case of a second or subsequent offence, with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to one lakh rupees and with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to two years.”n 2021, Kendrapara MP Anubhav Mohanty also proposed a Bill, expanding the definition of cruelty to include events where “animals are subjected to cruelty either during the sport or activity itself”, and anyone who “skins, roasts or kills for superstition or extracts parts of any live animals through a procedure which causes pain and suffering, for the purpose of getting skins, oils or other animal products; dynamites streams, rivers or other water bodies for the purpose of fishing or harming aquatic animals; or electrifies a fence, without the authority of law, whereby pain and suffering is caused to any animals.”In 2020, a group of MPs cutting across party lines wrote to then Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh, urging that the punishment in the 1960 Act be increased.And what has the government said on this subject?In April 2021, the Centre had proposed changes where the penalty can go up to “Rs 75,000 per animal or three times the cost of the animal as determined by the jurisdictional veterinarian, whichever is more, and imprisonment of three years which may extend to five years or both.”In October 2021, the government said it would bring in a Bill to amend the PCA Act. Union Minister for Animal Husbandry Parshottam Rupala told PTI, “We are ready with the draft amendment Bill. We are in the process of getting the Cabinet approval.”The government has finally moved in this direction.Apart from increasing penalties, what else is proposed?The draft bill proposes the insertion of a new section providing five freedoms to animals.“It shall be the duty of every person having charge of an animal to ensure that the animal in his care or under his charge has freedom from:* Thirst, hunger and malnutrition;* Discomfort due to environment;* Pain, injury and diseases;* Fear and distress, and the* Freedom to express normal behaviour for the speciesThe proposed law also says that “in case of a community animal, the local government such as municipality or panchayats shall be responsible for taking care of the community animals in a manner developed by the State Government or by the Board”.The draft defines “community animal” as “any animal born in a community for which no ownership has been claimed by any individual or an organization, excluding wild animals as defined under the wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (53 of 1972).”How frequent are acts of atrocities against animals?While acts of everyday stoning or beating animals are widespread and commonplace, sometimes the offence takes on grotesque and perverse forms.* In April this year, four people were arrested for carrying out unnatural sexual acts on a monitor lizard in Maharashtra.* In July 2021, the Kerala High Court took suo motu cognizance after a dog was beaten to death by three people in Adimalathura beach in Thiruvananthapuram* In 2020, the death of a pregnant elephant that bit an explosives-filled fruit had provoked nationwide outrage.* In February that same year, three men were arrested in Ludhiana for allegedly beating a stray dog with iron rods, throwing it from a rooftop and then dragging it on the road tied to an auto-rickshaw.Are there any concerns around tightening the law?While comments have been invited to the draft Bill, some experts have in the past pointed out that simply increasing the quantum of punishment may not be enough to stop cruelty against animals, and some already marginalised communities like ‘madaris’ (who perform with animals) and ‘saperas’ (snake charmers) may be disproportionately affected.Others have argued that focusing on the individual act of ‘cruelty’, such as farmers putting up electric fences around their fields, is an incomplete approach, and steps are needed to mitigate the larger issues of vanishing animal habitats and climate change exacerbating man-animal conflict.

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Congress provided such an eco-system where love jihad was easy: Himanta Biswa Sarma
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | 29-11-2022 | 11:35 am
The Indian Express
2 days ago | 29-11-2022 | 11:35 am

Assam Chief Minister and one of the star campaigners of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat elections, Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Monday launched an attack on opposition Congress for providing such an eco-system to the country where issues likes love jihad became very easy, and called for a law against love jihad that is possible “only in the BJP government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.On his second visit to Gujarat for campaigning, Sarma raised the infamous Delhi murder case involving Aftab Poonawala and Shraddha Walkar from Mumbai, which he had raised during his earlier visit also.The Assam CM said that before her murder, Shraddha had lodged a complaint with Maharashtra police against Aftab but an FIR was not registered. “At that time, the government in Maharashtra was that of Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party… because of Congress’s politics of appeasement, a special class has got freedom to do whatever they want… ‘you do anything and law will not touch you’. It is because of Congress’s appeasement that the country has started seeing incidents like that of Aftab-Shradhha.”Sarma mentioned that Shraddha was cut into 34 pieces and such gruesome murder is possible only if some other agenda was attached to it. “Else, you will never cut a person, with whom you have lived for some time, into 34 pieces,” he said.“Therefore, I believe that the country needs a law against love jihad. And it can be possible only in the BJP government under the leadership of Narendra Modi,” Sarma said.Defending his statement that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has started looking like Saddam Hussain (former chief of Iraq), Sarma said, “Some people from Congress got unhappy (with my comment). What is there to be unhappy about? I did not call him Bahadur Shah Zafar (the last emperor of the Mughal dynasty). I only said that your face looks like Saddam (Hussain). Remove the beard and again you will look like Rahul (Gandhi). What is the problem? That is my assessment. You are giving it publicity by trolling me,” Sarma said.Mentioning about the BJP manifesto for the Gujarat elections, Sarma said that the issues like checking love jihad, commitment for Uniform Civil Code, work against radicalisation, increasing medical insurance for poor from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, resolve against terrorism, announcement to express readiness to hold Olympics, etc., have come up during the Gujarat elections.“The country has started feeling the agenda of 2024 (Lok Sabha elections) on which issues the 2024 elections will be fought,” he said, adding that Congress did not control terrorism in the country, but it was done by PM Modi after 2014.Sarma said that the BJP is set to win more than 150 seats in the current state assembly elections and more than 400 in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.In reply to a question whether he was trying to polarise Hindu voters in Gujarat, Sarma said, “What is the problem in it? Don’t Hindus have a right to talk like a political force? Is it only the right of (Asaduddin) Owaisi to polarise? ”“We too have a right to talk about Sanatan Sanskruti in India, to talk about Hindu asmita (pride) and also talk against the exploitation of women in Muslim community. Why do you think that by talking about Hindu pride, the country will be polarised?”Replying to a question on radicalisation, Sarma said that nobody is saying that an entire community is radicalised. “There are patriots in that community as well. But unfortunately, Popular Front of India (PFI) and Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) also come from that community. So, we have to accompany the patriots from that class and destroy the radicals.”In its manifesto, the BJP has promised to have a cell against radicalisation. Sarma said that we need to have a “vaccine” against radicalisation.Sarma also campaigned for BJP candidates Hardik Patel in Viramgam and Alpesh Thakor in Gandhinagar South constituencies later in the day. In Motera area of Ahmedabad, which falls under Gandhinagar South constituency, Sarma participated in a programme organised by the local Assamese population.

Congress provided such an eco-system where love jihad was easy: Himanta Biswa Sarma
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma: Shraddha murder result of Congress’s appeasement politics
Times of India | 2 days ago | 29-11-2022 | 09:22 am
Times of India
2 days ago | 29-11-2022 | 09:22 am

GANDHINAGAR: BJP leader and Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday that the murder of Shraddha Walkar involving her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala is a fallout of the Congress’ appeasement politics and called for a law to tackle incidences of “love jihad”. Speaking to reporters at the state BJP headquarters, Sarma alleged “love jihad” incidents became normal in India because of an “eco-system created by Congress”. “Because of the appeasement politics of Congress, a particular class of people started thinking that authorities will not touch them no matter what they do. That is why we are now seeing such cases. Love jihad incidents became normal in India because of an ecosystem created by Congress,” Sarma said while referring to the Walkar murder case. “People like Aaftab are still under the impression that they can do whatever they want and nothing will happen to them. I believe the country needs a strong law to deal with ‘love jihad’ and it can be done only under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi,” he added. He said that terrorism couldn’t be contained under Congress’ rule because of its “appeasement politics”. “After 2014, you must have observed, the word terrorism has become almost obsolete. Terrorism could not be contained during the Congress rule because of appeasement politics,” he claimed. Sarma also stressed the need for the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code in the country and claimed B R Ambedkar was in favour of the UCC but Jawaharlal Nehru (the first PM of independent India) stalled his plans.

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma: Shraddha murder result of Congress’s appeasement politics
Girl untraced after elopement, Gujarat HC orders action against cops
Times of India | 2 days ago | 29-11-2022 | 09:13 am
Times of India
2 days ago | 29-11-2022 | 09:13 am

AHMEDABAD: As Rajkot police and later CID (crime) have been unable to trace a minor girl for more than three years, in a case of alleged elopement, the Gujarat high court asked the deputy inspector general (DIG) of police to take appropriate action against the erring police officials. The bench headed by Justice A J Desai directed the DIG concerned to look into the investigation carried out for the last three years to find the minor girl form Rajkot and come up with a report on it by December 19. A 14-year-old girl had eloped with one Saddam Makwana alias Ghugho in May 2019. The girl’s father lodged an FIR at Gandhigram police station in Rajkot. The police filed a summary report in court, saying Makwana was not traceable. The complainant approached the HC through advocate Nirav Sanghavi and filed a habeas corpus petition. The HC did not find the police’s action of filing a summary report appropriate and ordered it to continue the investigation. The HC directed a deputy commissioner of police in Rajkot to supervise the probe. However, the investigation did not yield results and the HC transferred the probe to CID (crime) January 2022 and asked the agency to intensify the search for the girl. The agency recorded the statement of a woman, at whose place Makwana had stopped for a while after the elopement. The woman told the court that her statement was recorded ten times. When the case came up for hearing last week, Sanghavi submitted that it has been more than three years and police have not been able to locate the girl. This led the bench to order the DIG to supervise the probe and permitted the top cop to take action against erring police officials.

Girl untraced after elopement, Gujarat HC orders action against cops
Missing in records, but quite at home!
Ahmedabad Mirror | 2 days ago | 29-11-2022 | 06:00 am
Ahmedabad Mirror
2 days ago | 29-11-2022 | 06:00 am

According to data from the CID Crime Missing Cell, about 10-15% persons listed as missing over the last several years may have returned home, yet they remain “technically” missing in police records.Among missing children, a total of 58 missing children from 20 districts were found by police. After deletion of their names from the missing list, 2,610 children are still missing in Gujarat.A year ago in October 2021, a total of 166 such “technically missing” persons had been stricken from police records in Ahmedabad city after CID Crime found most of these people had returned home but were still reported missing in their records.The scope of the problem is much worse in Surat, where, in September 2022, a whopping 646 people (19 children and 617 adults), some of them reported missing more than a decade ago, were “officially” said to have returned home after police officials struck them off their record books.Looking for missing people is tough for police as desperate families reach police stations immediately to file a complaint of a missing person but don’t show the same enthusiasm to approach police when he or she returns. An officer said, “However, all the blame cannot be laid at the feet of the people. In most cases, if the missing person or child is not found after two months, the file becomes dormant.”DySP Satish Chaudhary, who heads the Missing Cell in CID Crime, told Mirror, “We have seen that missing people who return home within 3 months, actually inform the police of their return. However, beyond that period there’s lack of communication between families of missing persons and police due to transfer of constables or ASIs probing the case. After trying to report once or maybe twice, the families stop trying and these people continue to show up as missing long after they return.”

Missing in records, but quite at home!
Is it liquor in the bottle? Police fail to prove it
Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 days ago | 28-11-2022 | 06:00 am
Ahmedabad Mirror
3 days ago | 28-11-2022 | 06:00 am

ByMayur JoshiThe state police are waxing eloquent on seizing liquor in the poll season, but that is all there is to it because all accused in such prohibition cases go scot-free without conviction from the courts. The main reason thereof appears to be the fact that the police don’t include the expert opinion (of an FSL officer) that the seized liquid was liquor, in the charge-sheet. So if it is not proved whether the bottles seized in prohibition cases have liquor or not, the benefit of doubt goes to the accused.Every year, Gujarat sees thousands of prohibition cases being filed and the police receive praise regardless of whether they’ve seized one bottle or a 1,000 of them. Not a single conviction has been made in any small or big cases. Even bootleggers have no fear of this law and that is why they go back to the illegal business after being released from one case. There are many bootleggers in Gujarat who have more than two dozen prohibition cases filed against them, but they haven’t been convicted in a single one.No expert opinion on seized liquidIn any charge-sheet about prohibition cases, no expert opinions are sought on whether the liquid seized is liquor or not. And in cases where multiple bottles are seized, there is no provision to send them to the lab for examination. Thus, there is no such report annexed in the charge-sheet. Due to incomplete investigation, not a single case of prohibition is proved.-Bharat Shah, president of Metro Court Bar AssociationIncomplete charge sheets benefit accusedWhile liquor bottles have stickers saying that they are for sale in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan or Daman and Diu, it is not investigated how it managed to reach Gujarat. According to the law, the benefit of police negligence goes to the accused and they are let go scot-free. Courts should also not accept incomplete charge-sheets. The govt should give officers training on how to investigate such cases.-Amit Balsari, advocate

Is it liquor in the bottle? Police fail to prove it
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