The Delhi High Court has refused to entertain petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 23 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA).

An Advocate named Rahul Narula had filed a writ petition seeking examination of the provisions of Section 23 of PCA read with Sections 200 and 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and setting aside/quashing the said Section as unconstitutional and ultra vires of Constitution.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Girish Kathpalia said, “We find that the present petition has been filed purely on the apprehension that some injury or ill-treatment may be caused to the animals during the events scheduled on 01.03.2024 to 03.03.2024. Such sort of petition cannot be entertained simply on the basis of apprehension.”

Advocate Pritam Biswas appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Advocate Shardul Singh appeared on behalf of the respondents.

Brief Facts -

The petitioner claimed to be a practicing Advocate as well as an animal lover and wildlife enthusiast. He claimed to have filed the petition to fight for the fundamental rights of animals guaranteed by the Constitution. He preferred the said petition against the respondents involving Union of India through Central Zoo Authority, Animal Welfare Board of India, Greens Zoological, Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, and Radhe Krishna Temple Elephant Welfare Trust.

As per the petitioner, on January 13 this year, a newspaper published a news report regarding the wedding of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant, the venue of which was Reliance Greens in Jamnagar, Gujarat. The wedding invitation gave a lot of importance and stress that the Jamnagar complex was transformed into a heaven for rescued animals. The petitioner submitted that he has a right under Section 200 of CrPC to file a complaint and the said right was curtailed by provisions of Section 23 of PCA. He said that the animals would suffer inhumane treatment and cruelty if no action would be taken.

The High Court after hearing the submissions made by the petitioner observed, “Since a High Powered Committee has already been constituted after the directions passed by Hon’ble Tripura High Court in the case of Sudipa Nath (supra), therefore, the said Committee is at liberty to be present and oversee the aforesaid event and to take all cautions permissible under law, if any, to ensure that no inhumane behaviour is caused to the animals.”

The Court clarified that either HPC may depute any of its member to oversee the event scheduled from March 1, 2024 or it may go itself to oversee the said event.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the petition.

Cause Title- Rahul Narula v. Union of India through Central Zoo Authority & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024:DHC:1123-DB)


Petitioner: Advocate Pritam Biswas

Respondents: Advocates Shardul Singh, Devika Mohan, Ahish Shahpurkar, and Anjali Tiwari.

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