New Delhi [India], November 29 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Secretary of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to be personally present before the Court on the next date of hearing and asked the board to file a status report on the whereabouts of all the wild animals or performing animals kept in circuses.
A Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh asked the Secretary of the AWBI to be personally present before the Court on the next date of hearing, that is, February 9 2022.
Senior Advocate Priya Hingorani appeared on behalf of PETA India, submitted that the reply on the application filed by the Petitioner (PETA India) is awaited since January 2021. She said that respondents have failed to file any reply as well as the status report from January 2021 till date.
She also submitted that the whole purpose of this application was to see the condition of the animals in circuses and the animals in those circuses which have been closed down. AWBI sought more time to file a reply.
But the Court expressed unhappiness with AWBI response and said that the purpose is being defeated, if they are not taken care of they will perish. The Court also warned that it will not hesitate to initiate contempt proceedings.
"We are concerned with the welfare of animals kept by the zoos within India which have suffered on account of the pandemic. Lack of care and attention to the captive animals can prove fatal for them, " the Court said.
The court was hearing two petitions related to seeking directions to impose an immediate ban on the use of animals in circuses across the country.
One was filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, seeking the immediate ban on the use of animals in circuses by the Centre, notifying The Performing Animals (Registration) (Amendment) Rules, 2018.
PETA also said that the use of weapons and other forms of abuse of animals is inherent, rampant, and widespread in circuses, which commonly violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009, among others.
Another was filed by the Federation for Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) seeking rescue of animals in circuses due to COVID-19 pandemic and challenging Sections 21 to 27 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to the extent that they permit exhibition and training of animals in or for or in relation to circuses acts.
The challenge to these Sections will ensure a ban on the use of animals in circuses. (ANI)