₹75k fine, 5-yr jail proposed for animal cruelty

Anyone injuring or killing animals may no longer get away by paying a penalty of Rs.50. The government has prepared a draft to amend the 60-year-old Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, proposing penalty up to Rs.75,000 or three times the cost of the animal with jail term up to five years or both if an act of an individual or organisation leads to an animal’s death.

The draft has proposed offences in three categories — minor injury, major injury leading to permanent disability, and death to an animal due to cruel practice — and prescribed different penalties ranging from Rs.750 to Rs.75,000 and jail term up to five years for different crimes.

The existing law stipulates a penalty between Rs.10 and Rs.50 for any act of cruelty such as beating, kicking, torturing, starving, overloading, overriding and mutilating an animal. It doesn’t have different categories of offences for cruelty. Animal in the Act is defined as any living creature other than a human being.

In a written response to a Parliament question in Rajya Sabha on Friday, minister of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying Giriraj Singh said, “The need for amending the PCA, 1960, by introducing more stringent penalties has been recognised by the government. The draft worked out includes increasing monetary penalties and punishment provisions.”

The minister, however, did not give details, including monetary penalties and quantum of punishment. The question was asked by Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar while referring to a case in Kerala where an elephant was suspected to have consumed a pineapple filled with powerful firecrackers which exploded in its mouth, leading to death, in the Silent Valley forest last year.

Sources said the draft amendment also provides for making offences of cruelty against animals cognisable and making state animal welfare board a statutory body.

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