The Apex Court on Wednesday issued a notice on a PIL that sought to declare the entire animal kingdom as, “legal entities”, i.e. they shall have the same corresponding rights as that of human beings. The term “legal entity” shall also include avian and aquatic species. The court said that its ‘very unlikely’ to entertain such prayer, but issues a notice.
A bench headed by Hon’ble Chief Justice S Bobde while hearing the plea orally said, “we will issue notice but it is very unlikely that we will entertain the prayer for declaring them as legal entity.” While asking the nature of the prayer he further added, “You (petitioner) want the entire animal kingdom to be treated as a legal entity… You want us to declare animals capable of suing and being sued? Animals are recognised as entities having protection of law.”
The bench asked the counsel appearing for the petitioner, “What you mean is that animals can be sued or be sued? That is the meaning of legal entity. Is your dog equal to you? You are really confused…” The petitioner sought to explain to the bench that various religious texts have accorded the status of animals as that of humans and they have been recognised as conscious beings.
According to the date submitted by the petitioner, between 2012 and 2015. Over 24,000 cases of animal cruelty were reported under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The plea read, “Animals are vulnerable and if we will grant them this status, they can be protected… whenever any incident of animal cruelty surfaces or comes to light on social media otherwise…”
The petition was filed before the court by an Allahabad-based NGO, ‘People’s Charioteer Organisation (PCO), through Advocates Devesh Saxena and Shashwat Anand.