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WPA AND PCA ACT and analysis and study of conviction rates under the act

The Wild Bird and Animal Protection Act, 1912was enacted by the British government, which empowered the provincial government to declare the whole year or any part thereof as “close time” during which specified kind of wild birds and animals would not be killed and it was made unlawful to capture, kill or sell or buy or possess any such bird or animal. Furthermore, such provisions were enforced with a significant quantum of fine. The act was further amended in 1935.

‘To her fair works did Nature link, the human soul that through me ran’-William Wordsworth

The relation between man and nature is well described by William Wordsworth in his poem written in Early Spring in which he elucidates this relationships it has always been a focus of philosophical discussions. In the times of Vedas, it was believed that every creation of ‘nature’ is for a purpose, and all its creations are dependent on each other for their survival. Moreover, it was a belief of saints, that a balance between man and nature is necessary for their mutual survival and growth. Also, in today’s contemporary age, this relation is being explored, but with different perspectives wherein emphasis has always been to make man realize that any other creation of nature is equally important as the human form.It is very important for humans to realize that survival of all the creations is essential for the very survival of life on our planet earth. However, the sad fact is that even after so much of technological advancement, we are yet to understand & realize the significance and relevance of our surroundings. Furthermore, when we study the history of this relationship, we find that it was considered dharma of each individual to protect & conserve nature in its prevalent state. Nature’s influence is visible in the past when we find that people in ancient times used to worship the objects of nature such as trees, water, land and animals. In fact, the Manusmriti had prescribed different punishments for causing injury to plants and animals. Kautilya is said to have gone a step further when he determined punishments on the basis ofthe importance of any particular animal. However, the contemporary scenario of this otherwise sacred relation between man and nature, in special context to ‘wildlife’ is rather worrisome.

2. Legislations in the Pre-Independence Era
Before independence, the most primitive provision on the Protection of Wildlife can be traced in the Indian Penal Code,1860which defined animals and further declared killing or maiming of animals as a punishable offence. However, this provision was not specific in dealing with wildlife, instead it was talking about animals which are domesticated and found in their natural habitat.

Subsequently, in 1879, the British government passed The Elephant Preservation Act which prohibited the killing, injuring or capturing wild elephants. Furthermore, in 1887, The Wild Bird Protection Actwas enacted to protect certain specified birds from getting killed during the breeding.

The Wild Bird and Animal Protection Act, 1912was enacted by the British government, which empowered the provincial government to declare the whole year or any part thereof as “close time” during which specified kind of wild birds and animals would not be killed and it was made unlawful to capture, kill or sell or buy or possess any such bird or animal. Furthermore, such provisions were enforced with a significant quantum of fine. The act was further amended in 1935.

3. Legislations in the Post-Independence Era
For the prevention of animal cruelty, the parliament has passedThe Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960. In the statement of objects of the Act it has been declared as “an Act to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and for that purpose to amend the law relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals”.

The act under its section 4(1) provides for the establishment of Animal Welfare Board by the Central Government for the promotion of animal welfare generally and for the purpose of protecting animal from being subjected to unnecessary pain or suffering.

4. Animal Welfare Board
i. Recognition of Animal Welfare Organizations
The Board oversees Animal Welfare Organizations (AWOs) by granting recognition to them if they meet its guidelines.

ii. Financial assistance
The Board provides financial assistance to recognized Animal Welfare Organizations (AWOs), who submit applications to the Board. Categories of grants include Regular Grant, Cattle Rescue Grant, Provision of Shelter House for looking after the Animals, Animal Birth Control (ABC) Program, Provision of Ambulance for the animals in distress and Natural Calamity grant.

iii. Animal welfare Laws and Rules
The Board suggests changes to laws and rules about animal welfare issues. In 2011, a new draft Animal Welfare Act was published for comment. Guidance is also offered to organizations and officials such as police to help them interpret and apply the laws.

iv. Raising awareness
The Board issues publications to raise awareness of various animal welfare issues. The Board's Education Team gives talks on animal welfare subjects, and trains members of the community to be Board Certified Animal Welfare Educators.

5.Animal Cruelty: Major Statutory Provisions
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960clearly defines what kind of behavior will amount to cruelty to animalsunder sections 11, 12 and 13. Some of the key explanations of cruelty when a personal will be deemed being cruel to animals if he:
a. beats, kicks, over-rides, over-drives, overloads, tortures or otherwise treats any animal so as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering or causes, or being the owner permits, any animal to be so treated.
b. employs in any work or labor or for any purpose any animal which, by reason of its age or any disease) infirmity; wound, sore or other cause, is unfit to be so employed or, being the owner, permits any such unfit animal to be employed
c. willfully and unreasonably administers any injurious drug or injurious substance to any animal or willfully and unreasonably causes or attempts to cause any such drug or substance to be taken by any animal
d. conveys or carries, whether in or upon any vehicle or not, any animal in such a manner or position as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering
e. keeps or confines any animal in any -cage or other receptacle which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement or keeps for an unreasonable time any animal chained or tethered upon an unreasonably short or unreasonably heavy chain or cord.
f. The Act also bans unauthorized experimentations on the animals. The act also lays down the rules for registration and the upkeep of performing animals.
g. Being the owner of any animal, fails to provide such animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter.
h. Without reasonable cause, abandons any animal in circumstances which render it likely that it will suffer pain by reason of starvation or thirst.
i. Willfully permits any animal, of which he is the owner, to go at large in any street while the animal is affected with contagious or infectious disease or without reasonable cause permits any diseased or disabled animal, of which he is the owner to die in any street
j. Offer for sale or, without any reasonable cause has in his possession any animal which is suffering pain by reason of mutilation; starvation; thirst; crowding or other ill-treatment.
k. Mutilates any animal or kills any animal (including stray Dog) by using the method of strychnine injections in the heart or any other necessarily cruel manner

l. Solely with the view to providing entertainment –
(1) confines or causes to be confined any animal (including typing of an animal as bait in a tiger or other sanctuary) so as to make it an object of prey for any other animal.

(2) incites any animal to fight or bait any other animal
m. Organizes, keeps, uses or acts in the management of, any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or permits or offers any place to be used or receives money for the admission of any other person to any place kept or used for any such purposes.

6. Case Laws
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals Vs. Union of India
In 2006, the Bombay High Court passed an important ruling, wherein any film meant for public viewing, in which an animal is used and/or filmed, has to obtain a certificate from the Animal Welfare Board of India, stating that the provisions of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 have been duly met. This ruling safeguards animals from being exploited or ill-treated during the period of film making, which can extend across several hours. The ruling prevents animals from, among other abuses, being exposed to loud, strange sounds, beaten or kept without food and water.

Nair, N.R. And Ors. Vs. Union of India and Ors
The Kerala High Court upheld a notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forests stating that bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions shall not be exhibited or trained as performing animals. When the notification was challenged in the Supreme Court, the court declared that animals suffer cruelty as they are abused and caged to make them perform, and therefore, this contravenes the PCA Act, 1960. It also dismissed the argument that the petitioners’ right to carry out any trade or business under article 19(g) of the Indian Constitution was violated as those activities that caused pain and suffering to the aforementioned animals would not be allowed.

Animal Welfare Board of India vs. A Nagaraja and Others
The Supreme Court banned the practice of Jallikattu in 2014, it alluded to various sections of the PCA Act, 1960, which addresses unnecessary suffering of animals. Alluding to Section 3 and Section 11, the Hon’ble Court declared that all animal fights incited by humans are illegal, even those carried out under the guise of tradition and culture. The Court also listed various recommendations, among them an overhaul of the penalties and punishments in the PCA Act, 1960, so as to allow it to function effectively as a deterrent in cases related to animal cruelty.

Promotes or takes part in any shooting match or competition wherein animals are released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting.

State of U.P Vs. Mustakeem and Ors
In the state of Uttar Pradesh, in a case where goats were found to be transported for slaughter in a cruel manner (they were tightly bound to each other, which was against the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960), an FIR was filed against the owner. However, the UP High Court returned custody of the animals to the owner while the matter was under litigation. On appeal, the Hon’ble Supreme Court declared that the animals were supposed to be confiscated from the owner and housed in a gaushala, under the care of the state government who was given their charge for the duration of the case. With this ruling, the Court made it amply clear that once an animal was removed from a person’s care on grounds of cruelty to his/her charge, the animal would not be returned until the case was resolved.

With a dwindling population of wild life in India with mass scale hunting and poaching and deforestation, which destroyed the natural habitat of the Indian species the government of India with pressure from wild life enthusiasts thought it fit to pass a stringent law to curb such practices and also give statutory recognition to game parks and animal reserves. Thus, theIndian Wild Life Protection Act 1972was enacted by the Indian parliament. The law was made applicable to the entire India state except Jammu and Kashmir which enacted its own wild life act.

The law for the first time regulated the setting up and control of parks to be referred to as National Parks and declared many species as protected animals and also provided for stringent punishments for poachers or other persons who killed wild animals. Effectively the act banned hunting for pleasure or sport.

The act has six schedules which cover the entire gamut of wild life.
a) Schedule I and II are the most potent sections of the act. This section covers animals which are in the category of endangered species. The sections in this schedule give absolute protection to certain species and these cannot be infringed on any account. The value of these sections can bee seen from the fact that the famous actor Salman Khan was sentenced to 5 years rigorous imprisonment for shooting a black buck in Rajasthan. The case is under appeal in the high court. In addition 16 persons have been convicted and sentenced to various terms of prison up to 7 years for killing a tiger.

b) Schedule III and IV. These also have roughly the same provisions of Section I and II, but cover animals that are not in danger of becoming extinct. The penalties under this section are also less than Schedule I and II.

c) Schedule V delineates animals that can be hunted like ducks and deer’s. For this purpose the hunter has to apply for a license to the District Forest Officer who will allow a hunter to shoot during a specific season and restricted area. Any infringement can lead to cancellation of the hunting license.

d) Schedule VI concerns cultivation and plant life and gives teeth to setting up more protected animal parks.

The act provides for the constitution of a National Board for Wildlife(under section 5A) with the Prime Minister as the Chairperson. The National Board shall promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests by such measures as it thinks fit. The act also provides for the constitution of a State Board for Wildlife (under section 6) to advise the state government in matters connected with the protection of wildlife.

7. Duties of Wildlife Advisory Board

The Wildlife Advisory Board mainly constituted to advise the state government in the following matters.
a) In the selection of areas to be declared as Sanctuaries, National Parks and Closed areas and the administration thereof;
b) In formulation of the policy for protection and conservation of wildlife and specified plants;
c) In any matter relating to the amendment of any schedule;
d) In relation to the measure to be taken for harmonizing the needs of the tribal and other dwellers of the forests with the protection and conservation of wildlife;
e) In any other matter connected with the protection of wildlife which may be referred to it by the state government.

The act includes offences such as:
i. Hunting: The word hunting under this act includes; capturing, killing, poisoning, snaring, and trapping or any wild animal and every attempt to do so; driving any wild animal for any of purposes specified in sub clause; injuring or destroying or taking any part of the body of any such animal, or in the case of wild birds or reptiles, damaging the eggs of such birds or reptiles, or disturbing the eggs or nests of such birds or reptiles;
Sec. 9 of the Act prohibits hunting of any wild animal specified in Schedules 1, 2, 3, and 4. Any person who hunts any wild animal shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine which may extend to Rs. 25000/- or with both. However if any person commits the offence in the sanctuary or national park, with respect any animal specified in Schedule 1, he shall be punishable with imprisonment which shall not be less than 1 year but may extend to 6 years and also with fine which shall not be less than 5000/-.

Recently actor Salman khan was convicted under section 51 of the act with an imprisonment of 5 years and fine of rupees 10,000.

Chief Forest Conservator, Wildlife v. Nisar Khan, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India prohibited the trapping and of birds by declaring it as hunting within the purview of the Act.

In T.N God Varman v. Union of India the Supreme Court was approached to issue directions to the Central Government and State of Chhattisgarh to prepare a rescue plan to save the Asiatic wild buffalo, an endangered species from extinction.

ii. Protection to specified plants which includes prohibits picking, uprooting, etc., of specified plants which includes (a) willfully pick, uproot, damage destroy, acquire or collect any specified plant from any forestland and area specified, possess, sell, other for sale, or transfer by way of gift or otherwise, or transport any specified plant, whether alive or dead, or part or derivative.

iii. Setting up of wildlife sanctuaries, National parks and Central zoos under this act.

iv. Trade or commerce in wild animals, animal articles and trophies: Sec. 39 of the Act, declares that every wild animal other than vermin, which is hunted or kept or bred in captivity or found dead or killed by mistake, shall be the property of the State Government. Likewise, animal articles, trophy or uncured trophy, meat derived from any wild animal, ivory imported to India, article made from such ivory, vehicle vessel weapon, trap or tool that has used for committing an offence and has been seized shall be the property of the state government. If any of the above is found in the sanctuary or a National Park declared by the Central Government then it shall be property of the Central Government.

In Ivory Traders Manufacturers Association v. Union of India, the Hon’ble Court upheld the prohibition on trade of Ivory by restricting the ‘fundamental right to freedom of trade’ by clearly stating that ‘trade and business at the cost of disrupting life forms and linkages necessary for the preservation of bio-diversity and cannot be permitted even once.

The supreme court has time to time showed its concern on the protection of Flaura and Fauna.
State of Bihar v. Murad Ali Khan & others, the Hon’ble Supreme Court raised alarm of ecological imbalances and consequential environmental damage, stating the urgency of immediate, determined and effective steps to preserve wildlife. The court emphasized that:
“The preservation of the fauna and flora, some species of which are getting extinct at an alarming rate has been a great and urgent necessity for the survival of humanity and these laws reflect a last-ditch battle for the restoration, in part at least, a grave situation emerging from a long history of callous insensitiveness to the enormity of the risks m mankind that go with the deterioration of environment. The tragedy of the predicament of the civilized man is that every source from which man has increased his power on earth has been used to diminish the prospects of his successors. All his progress is being made at the expense of damage to the environment which he cannot repair and cannot foresee”.

Similarly, in Center for Environmental Law, WWF-I v. State of Orissa, the Hon’ble High Court of Orissa observed that efforts should be made to involve local people in the conservation process, and they should be educated about the benefits of preservation of wildlife.

8.Study and Data Analysis of the Conviction Rates in Wildlife Offences
Beside of the laws for the protection of animal cruelty in India, the scale of the crimes in the country are vigorously increasing, the Wildlife protection Society of India (WPSI) has put some statistical data about wildlife crimes recorded in last few years in India. According to WPSI , around 20,000 crimes wildlife crimes has been recorded and over 400 species of wildlife has been targeted. WPSI has revealed information about 16,000 wildlife criminals and their associates, inter-state wildlife traders, smuggling routes and new poaching trade routes.

The most threatened wildlife species in India are of tigers, elephants, leopards and rhinos. There are just 26000 to 30000 elephants left in the wild in India. According to WPSI data, 18 elephants were poached between January and September ,2014 for their tusk to meet the demand of ivory.

The agency has recorded the loss of over 120 elephants due to poaching between 2008 and 2011. In the same period records of seizures of 781kg ivory and 69 tusks, besides ivory pieces and carved articles.
According to data available on the national tiger conservation authority (NTCA) website, 66 tigers were found dead around the country in 2014.

Whereas the above-mentioned data was about the situation of wildlife in India, the stray animals are subjected to more pathetic situation and torture. The incidents like in the capital New Delhi, an unidentified man was caught on CCTV attacking a dog and killing a puppy outside a metro station. A housewife in the southern state of Karnataka smashed eight puppies on a boulder. In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, a man in an inebriated state poured acid on five new born puppies and their mother. The west central state of Maharashtra registered a case in which a traffic police officer was arrested for the brutal assault on a stray dog, which led to permanent blindness in one eye. Around 50 community dogs were sedated with food laced with pesticide and then burned alive in the south-eastern state of Tamil Nadu are extremely shocking and a shame on Mankind. Many more incidence of animal cruelty which although make a news but no action was taken against it are whereA rash of reports of cruel attacks on animals have surfaced in 2016, most recently when a resident of Dwarka area in Delhi an unemployed man with a history of alcoholism and a domestic violence charge allegedly used a hacksaw to chop off a front and a hind leg of a 2-month-old stray puppy. He invited the puppy in, offering it food and acquired a scratch in the process from the excited creature when it eagerly reached for it. Flying into a rage, he revenged the scratch by committing the dastardly deed on the defenseless little animal.

A monkey was reportedly tied, beaten and killed by some students of Christian Medical College, Vellore and a leopard were brutally beaten to death by the villagers in Sohna village near Gurgaon. A police horse died in Dehradun due to beatings it suffered from MLA Ganesh Joshi at a rally in Dehradun. Other reports – often with outraging video evidence – have surfaced this year from Kerala, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad in which dogs and puppies have been burnt alive, stabbed, thrown out from heights and smashed to death against boulders. Yet, all those perpetrators are out there, walking scot-free – perhaps within a few hours of indictment.
“State of India’s Environment 2017” suggest a worrying 52% increase in poaching wildlife crimes between 2014 and 2016. Over 30,382 wildlife crimes and mortality have been recorded till December 31,2016, says the book by non-profit center for science and Environment, which has sourced the information from the wildlife protection society of India. Even the number of species that are poached or illegally traded in the country increased from 400 in 2014 to 465 in 2016. In 2016, 50 tigers were poached, which is the highest in the past decade. Meanwhile, 340 peacocks were killed because of poaching between 2015 and 2016 which is much higher than that of 2014. Blackbuck, Blue bull, chinkara, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros, spotted dear and the wild boar are also highly threatened as the annual book.

Even turtles and pangolin are at high risk. About 37,267 turtles seized between 2015 and 2016, which means the government seized an average of 100 turtles everyday last year. The most worrying thing about this is the trend which continued in 2017. In January 2017 the special task force of Uttar Pradesh Police seized 6,430 endangered soft shell and flap shell turtles from a house in Amethi District. This was believed to be one of the largest turtle hauls in the country so Far.

Similarly, pangolin, which is in high demand in China for its aphrodisiac and medicinal value, remains at threat in the country, with over 100,000 pangolins captured illegally every year. In February 2017, a multilayered poaching network trading in pangolins, spread across 10 Indian states, was busted. A special task force of the Madhya Pradesh forest Department which busted this pan-India network found three major routes used for smuggling pangolins from Central India to China.

Information collected through the source of RTI In 2015 has shown that during the period of 1990-2010, total 1893 cases of wildlife and animal cruelty was registered in total 161 district courts in India. Out of this 1893 cases 412 cases remained pending till 2010 and 272 was known. Out of the remaining 1209 cases was disposed of in which 443 convictions here there and 895 acquittals were there.

Apart from that a data collected through a source of an Non-Profit organization has shown that from the year of 2011-2015 around 5000 cases of cruelty on animals took place out which only 2000 cases got registered. Whereas according to Bombay Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (BSPCA) has registered over 20,000 cases of animal cruelty at various police stations.

However, in 13,089 of these cases the accused did not appear in court, but still paid the fines. In2011, the court cases reported were 3,333 the subsequent years recorded 3,379 and 3, 974 cases. In all the 20,092 cases registered only 7,003 cases saw convictions.

Data provided by National Crime Bureau (NCRB) shows that while the overall rate in India in 2012 for wildlife offences was 38.5% the corresponding figure for Maharashtra was only 9.4%.

The judiciary although in certain cases has taken stringent actions against people committed animal cruelty. The state of Assam had taken an remarkable step by speeding up prosecution and conviction of poachers by setting up new fast track courts set up specially for trying wildlife offences.According to the official records, soon after the establishment of fast track courts in 2017 itself out of 17 wildlife crime-relates arrests in the state, 11 cases prosecuted according to official figures, out of which about six convictions was already secured in 2017. AfterAssam, the state of Guwahati also started trial of wildlife cases by new fast track courts.

Like recently a popular decision by jodhpur court convicting actor Salman khan under Section 51 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 for a term of 5 years for hunting of two black bucks in 1998 has set out an example and remarkable approach of judiciary towards the matter of Animal cruelty.

In 2015 three students from Manipur have been arrested for allegedly killing their pet dog and cooking it at their rented accommodation in Subhash Nagar area .The students — Roman, Michel and Daljit, all aged around 20 and studying computer application and animation at private colleges in Bangalore — have been booked under Section 428 of the Indian Penal Code (mischief by killing or maiming animal of value of Rs 10 or upwards) on the basis of a complaint lodged by their neighbor Chandrashekar, an animal rights activist, and other members of the Animal Welfare Association. All three students were produced before a court and were remanded to judicial custody. Section 428 of the IPC entails a maximum punishment of two years imprisonment.

Two MBBS students threw a stray dog from a terrace, and video graphed such a cruel act. Afterwards, a petition was filed by an honorary animal welfare officer of Animal Welfare Board of India because the offenders got an interim bail by a lower court. The Madras High Court issued a notice to the government of Tamil Nadu for the cancellation of the bail granted to them. It is the judiciary that can perform yeoman’s service by recognizing that such cruel actions deserve immediate and harsh action despite past criminal behavior so that a deterrent effect is created in the society.

In Khed Taluka Chalak Malak Sangh & ors. Versus Smt. Gargi Gogoi & Ors. the Supreme Court today upheld the Bombay High Court order dated 12.03.2012 and imposed a complete ban on the bullock cart races in the country. SC said that bulls could not be used as performing animals, either for the jallikattu or bullock-cart races.

The High Court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana held on 29thDecember, 2014, that cockfights are illegal. This order is supported by the supreme court vide order dated 12thJanuary ,2015 as well as by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh vide an affidavit submitted in the court.

9. Conclusion
I think India as a national has recognized the importance of the issue in hand and has opted to take steps to prevent such acts. Furthermore, upon looking at The Constitution of India, one may interpret how animals must be protected from any cruelty and protection of them as it could be considered as a duty for all individuals of our society. As already mentioned there are a plethora of laws which have been enacted by the legislature for animal welfare, which also reflects their submission or recognition to the seriousness of the issue. Thus, one may say that in comparison to the many of the countries the stand of the ‘Legal System’ in India is strong against any cruelty to animals and promotes animal welfare. Also, in the cases where there really has been cruelty to animals the Indian judiciary has heard and held for the rights of the animals. But the real and major problems exist in the implementation and some defects in these laws as regards the present time. However, there are many cases which do arise but the judiciary would only be able to hear a case and the laws and legal provisions for animal welfare would only be effective when a case is at least filed or brought up in front of the Hon’ble Court.

The unawareness of the laws on the issue among the latent masses as well as concerned professionals and police are the major reason for the non-implementation of these laws. This problem needs to address as soon as possible. Such non-implementation is the biggest obstacles that India is facing right now with regards ensuring animal welfare.

There is also an immediate need of amendment of some provisions of the laws as be effective with the changed time support for which is becoming visible. But at last one may say that even though there are loop holes rights now present in the ‘Indian Legal System’ with regards to this issue but with its current stand and if the various recommendations and problems are given the deserved consideration and appropriate steps are taken in accordance with them or any other measures which may solve the following aforesaid problems then steps one may conclude by saying that there will be a hope for a better future for non-humans to live a life with dignity, like they deserve. After all, we must use our conscience and make all possible efforts to adhere to the words which were given by the ‘Father of our Nation’ i.e. Mahatma Gandhi, who said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

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