May 30, 2016
Don’t Give Case Property Animals to Accused During Trial: TS, AP Governments
The Governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have issued directions to all public prosecutors in those states to ensure that no accused is given custody of animals pending trial in offences registered under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The directive is based on a provision found in the Andhra Pradesh Prohibition of Cow Slaughter and Animal Preservation Act, 1977. Officials also urged all prosecuting officers to comply with the orders of the Supreme Court strictly and oppose the petitions filed for handing over animals in custody of the accused in pending cases of animal cruelty.
The directives reference an order passed in 2002 by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of State of Uttar Pradesh vs Mustakeem & Others. This judgment stated that custody of animals in cases of cruelty cannot be returned to the accused keeping in view the very allegations made against such accused. The Hon’ble Court directed that the custody be given to a Goshala for care and maintenance.
N G Jayasimha, managing director of HSI/India, said, “In cases where the safety of animals is in question, the animals continue to suffer in the hands of the accused if they are not defended by the public prosecutor. It’s imperative that these animals need to be protected from cruelty and the accused do not receive their custody during the trial. Now that the Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have passed the circular, we are hopeful that animal cruelty cases will be judiciously dealt with.”
- In 2013, the Hon’ble Madras High Court in the Naseerulah vs State of S. I of Police, Coonoor and others in the custody of cattle case made it clear that cattle shall be maintained in the Goshalas, until the disposal of the cases.
- In 2015, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Gauri Maulekhi vs Union of India and others case directed that Rules be formulated to regulate seized animals. Based on this directive, the Animal Welfare Board of India submitted the Care & Maintenance of Case Property Animals Rules, 2015 which are pending with the Ministry of Environment & Forests for notification.
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