IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM
W.P.(C). TMP-28 OF 2020
State of Kerala , The City Police Commissioner
Date of Judgement
6th April, 2020
Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar; Hon'ble Mr. Justice Shaji P. Chaly
The petitioner was denied a vehicle pass to venture out and purchase “Meo-Persian” biscuits for his cats during the lockdown period. As a pure vegetarian, he does not cook non-vegetarian food in his house and, over the years, his cats have been fed with the above biscuits and they cannot do without them. The said biscuits for his feline friends were available for purchase at the Cochin Pet Hospital that is some distance away from his home. His request for an online pass was, however, rejected by the police authorities without assigning any reasons. The petitioner in his writ petition relies on the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and also the judgment of the Supreme Court in Animal Welfare Board of India v A. Nagaraja.
- Whether the restriction on movement during the lockdown period was valid?
- Whether the cats’s food come under essential items?
- The petitioner’s counsel contended that animals too have a fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
- Under the guidelines issued by the Central Government in the Ministry of Home Affairs, “animal feed and fodder” have been included as “essential items” in respect of which movement is permitted during the lockdown period.
- Under Article 51 A (g), in Part IVA of our Constitution, mandates that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1960 made express provisions for the welfare of animals & made it a punishable offence to kill or injure any animal.
- Under the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation of Animal Health (OIE), of which our Country is a member, it was held that the five internationally recognised freedoms for animals viz. (i) freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition, (ii) freedom from fear and distress, (iii) freedom from physical and thermal discomfort, (iv) freedom from pain, injury and disease and (v) freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.
Observation & Decision
The court held that the clear inclusion of “animal feed and fodder” as “essential items” in respect of which movement is permitted during the lockdown period, it would suffice if the petitioner carries a self-declaration stating that his movement to Kadavanthara is for procuring animal feed. Taking note of this submission, we allow the writ petition by directing the respondents to permit the petitioner to travel to Kadavanthara, Kochi, to procure the said item of cat food, on his producing a self-declaration stating the purpose of his travel, along with a copy of this judgment.
Edited by Sree Ramya
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje