Animals Are Legal Entities, Have Rights: Uttarakhand HC

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Animals Are Legal Entities, Have Rights: Uttarakhand HC

Uttarakhand HC rules that all animals have rights like human beings.

Dehradun: In a landmark judgment that will cheer the hearts of animal lovers, the Uttarakhand High Court has upheld the rights of the “entire animal kingdom”.

The court on Wednesday declared all animals, including avian and aquatic species as legal entities, with the “rights, duties and liabilities of a living person”.

The court order is a good one, but implementation would be very difficult. And it is not clear what the punishment would be if the orders are violated.

“The entire animal kingdom including avian and aquatic are declared as legal entities having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person,” a Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lok Pal Singh said.

Animals Are Legal Entities, Have Rights- Uttarakhand HC

The order further declared all Uttarakhand citizens as “ as the human face for the welfare and protection of animals”.

The Division Bench was hearing a PIL by Narayan Dutt Bhatt, filed in the year 2014 where the petitioner had sought directions to restrict the movement of horse carts, or tongas between Indian and Nepal through Banbasa in Uttarakhand’s Champawat district.

However, the High Court enlarged the scope of the petition in larger public interest to promote the protection and welfare of the animals. The Court directed the state that no animal, including horses moving between India and Nepal, carries excess weight. It also banned the use of any “sharp equipment” throughout the state, “to avoid bruises, swelling, abrasions or severe pain” to animals.

Animals Are Legal Entities, Have Rights: Uttarakhand HC

Adding to this, the Uttarakhand government was also directed to ensure “that in an area where the temperature exceeds 37 degrees Celsius between 11 am and 4 pm in summers and when the temperature is below 5 degrees Celsius between 5 am to 7 am and between 10 pm to 5 am in winter season no person is permitted to keep any animal used for the purpose of drawing vehicles”.

The court order also said:  “No goods vehicle shall carry more than six cattle. Each goods vehicle shall be provided with one attendant… The animals shall be transported on foot only when the temperature is between 12 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius… (animals must be) provided water with every two hours and food every four hours.”