Constitute societies to prevent cruelty to animals: Calcutta HC to Admn

Report by: 
EOI BUREAU
Port Blair
30 Jan 2017
In a notable judgment, the Calcutta High Court has directed the Andaman and Nicobar Administration to constitute societies in all the three districts of these islands in accordance with the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Establishment and Regulation of Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Rules, 2001 within March 31, 2017. Noting that no society has yet been formed in any of the districts of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands  in compliance of the provisions of the 2001 Rules, the bench of Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Ranjit Kumar Bag ruled that the issue of prevention of cruelty to animals cannot be ignored in view of promulgation of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1960 and subsequent framing of rules in 2001.
Disposing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Zarina Nikhat Islam, Life Member of a registered Society named “People for Animals” on January 9 this year, the High Court also directed the Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services to discharge the functions relating to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and submit monthly reports to the administration till the Societies are constituted in all the three districts within the specified time frame.
According to reports, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) started initially in the year 1993 with a few doctors from the Department of Animal Husbandry.  However, the society remained dormant for years due to lack of manpower and other infrastructure. Animal rights activists, Zarina Nikhat Islam and Dr PM Murali took up the issue with the then Lt. Governor of these islands following which the Director of Animal Husbandry in his capacity as the General Secretary of SPCA conducted the managing committee elections in 2015 ignoring the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Establishment and Regulation of Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Rules, 2001. The activists had challenged the constitution of the SPCA in the public interest litigation.