An online petition started by two animal welfare organisations calling for an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1970, has now garnered nearly 7.5 lacs signatures, highlighting the frail implementation of laws against animal violence.
Delhi-based People for Animals (PFA) in association with US-based Humane Society International (HSI) has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the penalty against animals' cruelty from a mere Rs 50.
The penalties under this Act, which start from Rs 10 to Rs 50 for a first time offender and Rs 100 for a repeat offender, have not been revised in the past 60 years and have long since become ineffective in deterring animal cruelty.
The petition has been started by Gauri Maulekhi, Trustee, People For Animals - Public Policy Foundation and Alokparna Sengupta, Managing Director, Humane Society International/India.
As a result of such out-dated penalties, it becomes increasingly easy for offenders to scot free after committing heinous crimes against animals including mutilation.
'Parliament is expected to make proper amendment of the PCA Act to provide an effective deterrent to achieve the object and purpose of the Act and for violation of Section 11, adequate penalties and punishments should be imposed', the petition stated further adding,'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'.
The petition highlighted that Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution of India makes it incumbent upon every citizen of the country to be compassionate towards all living creatures.
The petition that was started on January 19 has already fetched the signatures of renowned personalities including Tiger Shroff, Manoj Bajpayee, Shraddha Kapoor, Pooja Bhatt etc.
Incidents highlighting cruelties against animals have been on the rise. In one recent shocking incident a wild elephant, which strayed into a human habitat in Tamil Nadu, was killed by an act of human cruelty as a burning tyre was hurled at it by the staff of a private resort in Masinagudi in Nilgiris district.
Forest officials said the badly injured elephant, with bleeding in its ears, was found by some forest department guards in Masinagudi, but it died before it could be taken for treatment to a facility at the Mudumalai forest range. On conducting an autopsy, officials realised that severe injuries had been caused because of the burns.
In another act reported from Kerala, a pet dog was tied to a car and dragged along a road by a man to be abandoned in the wild, but freed after a passerby confronted him in Kerala's Ernakulam district.