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Animals may not have Rights, but they cannot be subjected to Cruelty by Humans: Supreme Court

The apex court by its May 7, 2014, order had banned Tamil Nadu's centuries-old Jallikattu -- bull fights -- saying that bulls could not be used as performing animals

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Jallikattu Bull-fight. Flickr
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New Delhi, November 10, 2016: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said animals may not have rights but they cannot be subjected to cruelty by humans.

Further hammering the point, the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said what is embedded in the Constitution and the statutes cannot be taken away by a notification.

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“How can you take away something that is constitutionally embedded,” the court asked, pointing out that January 7 notification permitting the “use of bulls for Jallikattu” and cart race took away the very basis of May 7, 2014, Supreme Court judgment that had banned Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court Judge Dipak Misra. Youtube
Supreme Court Judge Dipak Misra. Youtube

In an observation, the bench asked Tamil Nadu counsel that on one hand you are worshiping a cow describing her as holy, and on the other hand you are torturing bulls. “How is this?”

The January 7 notification, while retaining bulls in the list of animals prohibited from being used for public performances or exhibition has carved out an exception permitting their use for Jallikattu with a rider that they would not be inflicted with any cruelty.

The apex court by its May 7, 2014, order had banned Tamil Nadu’s centuries-old Jallikattu — bull fights — saying that bulls could not be used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu events or bullock cart races.

Holding that Jallikattu, bullock cart race and such events per se violate the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals Act, the apex court by its May 7, 2014, verdict had said: “Parliament, it is expected, would elevate rights of animals to that of constitutional rights, as done by many of the countries around the world, so as to protect their dignity and honour.”

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The court’s observations came in the course of hearing of a batch of petitions by NGOs Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Animal Equality, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals India, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, the Animal Welfare Board of India, and animal right activist Gauri Maulekhi challenging the notification.

Even as Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha sought to defend the state notification, Justice Nariman said that the notification purported to take away the very basis of the 2014 judgment.

“Do you remove the very basis of the (2014) judgment? It is based and founded on constitutional provision, we don’t think you will be able to remove,” bench told Narasimha. “How does a bull get trained? Once an animal is prohibited for being used for entertainment, then how you can have a proviso indirectly providing for other purposes (Jallikattu)?”

The bench observed, “Either you allow (public performances or exhibition of bulls) or you completely prohibit it, you can’t have both.”

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As Tamil Nadu told the court that the hearing on the plea challenging January 7 notification should take place only after its review petition seeking recall of the 2014 verdict is decided, the bench said that it would hear both pleas — for the recall of 2014 verdict and batch of petitions challenging January 7 notification — on November 16. (IANS)

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SC seeks ideas to enforce anti-sexual harassment law at workplace

The court had issued a notice to all the states in the last hearing of the matter on January 4

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The IIF has sought to put in place the guidelines for the implementation of the law at all levels. Wikimedia Commons
The IIF has sought to put in place the guidelines for the implementation of the law at all levels. Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the NGO Initiative for Inclusion Foundation (IIF) to give suggestions for effective implementation of a law to curb sexual harassment of women at workplaces, particularly in the private sector.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A. M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought the suggestions after the Central government in its affidavit claimed that it has taken steps to enforce the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Appearing for the IIF, senior counsel Sanjay Parikh said there was no implementation of the law in private companies.

Also Read: One out of Two Children face Child Sexual Abuse: The Growing Problem of Child Sexual Abuse in India

He said a meeting was held with Assocham four years ago but nothing happened after that.

The IIF has sought to put in place the guidelines for the implementation of the law at all levels.

The court had issued a notice to all the states in the last hearing of the matter on January 4. The notice was returnable in four weeks. IANS