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Perverted defence

Perverted defence
Highlights

Besides violation of the law of the land by influential politicians in connivance with law enforcement agencies, a perverted logic is put forth to defend the cock fights. This gladiatorial practice raises issues of seminal importance with regard to the rights of animals under our Constitution, laws, culture, tradition, religion and ethology. 

Besides violation of the law of the land by influential politicians in connivance with law enforcement agencies, a perverted logic is put forth to defend the cock fights. This gladiatorial practice raises issues of seminal importance with regard to the rights of animals under our Constitution, laws, culture, tradition, religion and ethology.

The cock fights clearly violate the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA Act), especially Section 11(1)(a), as they involve causing the cocks pain and suffering and cannot be free from cruelty. This section prohibits treating any animal in a way that causes unnecessary pain or suffering.

The provisions of this law should be liberally construed in favour of the weak and infirm. Section 11 is a beneficial provision enacted for the welfare and protection of the animals and it is penal in nature.Therefore, it confers rights on the animals and obligations on all persons, including those who are in-charge or care of the animals.

The government should immediately take penal actions on the politicians who publicly violated the PCA Act by conducting cock fights. The legitimacy of cock fights should be examined primarily keeping in mind the welfare and the well-being of the animals and not from the standpoint of the organisers or spectators who derive vicarious pleasure from such events.

Article 51A(g) of the Constitution cast fundamental duties on every citizen to have “compassion for living creatures.” As the Supreme Court in Animal Welfare Board of India versus A Nagaraja & Ors, 2014, said, “All living creatures have inherent dignity and a right to live peacefully and right to protect their well-being which encompasses protection from beating, kicking, over-driving, over-loading, tortures, pain and suffering etc. “ Animals have also got intrinsic worth and value.

All animals are not anatomically designed to be performing animals. The ethology does not classify cock as performing animal. The protagonists of cock fights defend their actions in the name of providing entertainment on the eve of the festival. But, Section 11(1)(m)(ii), of PCA Act, says that if any person, solely with a view to providing entertainment incites any animal to fight, shall be punishable under the proviso to Section 11(1).

The supporters of cock fights refer to culture and tradition. But, Indian spiritual literature also promotes kindness to animals. As early as 1500-600 BC Isha-Upanishads professed: “The universe along with its creatures belongs to the land. No creature is superior to any other. Human beings should not be above nature. Let no one species encroach over the rights and privileges of other species.”

However, when there is a conflict between culture and law, it is the law and law alone that prevail in a modern democratic society governed by rule of law rather than tradition. If it is not cruelty when human beings eat cocks, how can cock fights be cruel? This logic is used to justify such fights.

But, the Supreme Court in Animal Welfare Board of India versus A Nagaraja & Ors, 2014 case, said, ”every species has an inherent right to live and shall be protected by law, subject to the exception provided out of necessity.”

Therefore, the cock fights are against Constitution, law, universal values, and spiritual postulates. The inaction of the government over such violations constitutes contempt of court, too.

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