Time immemorial, fundamental rights have come to the rescue of
all living things including animals and birds. The Indian
constitution has taken under its wings every harmed soul whose
basic humane right has been infringed. The Apex Court in Animal
Welfare Board v. A. Nagaraja & Ors as reported in MANU/ SC/
0426/ 2014 have recognized the fundamental right of every animal to
live with dignity and have had also imposed stringent conditions
upon the Government and its authorities to stop any form of cruelty
upon Animals. In the said case, the apex court held that bulls
cannot be used as performing animals either for Jallikattu events
or for any Bullock-cart Races in State of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra
or elsewhere in country. It is this backdrop, the principles of
fundamental rights are again being reinforced and this time, it is
Delhi High Court which has unclipped the wings of caged birds.
Justice Manmohan Singh of the Delhi High court in People for
Animals v. Md. Mohazzim as reported in 2015 SCC OnLine Del 9508
have observed that running the trade of birds was in violation to
the fundamental rights of the Birds. The court while issuing notice
to the alleged respondent owner observed that birds have a
fundamental right to live with dignity and they cannot be subjected
to any form cruelty by anyone including the alleged owner of the
birds. The courts observed that the birds will have to be set free
in sky and cannot be caged. This petition was being heard against
the trial court order which had allowed the return of birds to the
alleged respondent owner despite upon arriving at categorical
findings that the respondent was not the owner of the birds since
they were not exotic. The birds were released to alleged respondent
owner on superdari basis on the ground that respondent had not
committed any cruelty on the birds and respondent cannot be denied
to the property that he is otherwise entitled to. In response to
the said trial court's order, the court observed that birds
cannot be caged and they have a fundamental right to fly. The court
also observed that these birds were being caged and exported
illegally to foreign countries without any care and without being
provided with any food and medication. The court took into account
the pictures of birds taken from the shop of the respondent wherein
the birds were kept in cages. The question as to whether the wings
or tails of the birds were clipped or cut could not be answered.
The matter has been put for hearing on May, 28, 2015.
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The Constitution of India is the supreme law of the land and forms the basis of Indian law and the parliamentary system of government – the Indian judiciary is independent of the executive and legislative branches of government.
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