Whither #DistrictSPCAs? How then can we prevent animal cruelty ?
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Our country animal laws are some of the best in the world, yet our failure has always been in apathy , ignorance and poor implementation. Please let Bengaluru lead the way by the quick set up and functioning of its District SPCA ( Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) .
Karnataka State Animal Welfare Board (KAWB) to implement Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA Laws) has finally been set in Nov 2019 up 19 years after the AWBI Rules of 2001 and Supreme Court instructing all states to do so. Yet - WHY is the very mechanism of preventing animal cruelty ie via setting up functional District SPCAs across all 30 Karnataka Districts (including Bengaluru Urban which we are a part of ) still to get done?
All that is required is for the Honourable District Magistrate of Bengaluru District to set up the District SPCA as a Society or Association with a clear charter and board and have regular meetings to incorporate city animal matters and citizen’s agenda points. A small effort and yet a big step for animals and prevention of animal cruelty . The active animal welfare community is happy to support them.
Its absence was very clear in the recent stray dog poisoning case at JP Nagar on 26 Jan 2020. So what is the Dept of Animal Husbandry planning to do to SET these up? Why the unconscionable delay and lack of accountability? The longer it takes , animal cruelty cases will rise without any justice or redressal. That’s unacceptable. So many states are way ahead of us – Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and even Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Pune SPCA handles all animal cruelty complaints ONLINE, and we as India’s premier tech city don’t even have a District SPCA in place. While 30 District SPCA’s need to be set up across Karnataka as per the AWBI Rules, let us start with Bengaluru and make this pilot project an EXAMPLE for the rest of India.
This was promised to AWBI etc by various CMs earlier. We have made several attempts, written email & letters , even met the Animal Husbandry Minister, Secretaries, Commissioners without any clear results. Please note our many online petitions in this regard.
Precedence exists. In 2013, a PIL filed in Bombay High Court by Mr Marathe and an earlier PIL by activist Ms Ankita Shah resulted in the High Court expediting the SPCAs. ‘The notification, released on Tuesday, states that “it is expedient to establish SPCA in every district and to appoint managing committee of for implementation of provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960”.
In 2001, the Union government had directed all states to establish SPCA in each district within six months from the date of commencement of rules. The society's main intention is to prevent cruelty to animals and execute welfare schemes of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). Despite this, the society was not formed in most of the districts of the state.‘ The Petitioner Mr. Marathe shared that In some cities, NGOs were working as SPCA but there was no umbrella body. Due to this, animal rights laws could never be implemented properly. ..Now since the notification has been released, the local administration should immediately start the procedure of setting-up the committee,” added Shah.
The society is also expected to curb the increasing number of animal cruelty cases. “Public can directly approach the society with such grievances. SPCA has to take up such complaints,” said Shah’ The High Court conformed that the district collector will be the chairperson of the 15-member body.
Please read the relevant portion of the AWBI 2001 Rules under the PCA Act viz Point 3 :
3. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to animals in a district - (1) Every State Government shall by notification in the Official Gazette, establish, as soon as may be and in any event within six months from the date of commencement of these (2001)rules, a society for every district in the State to be the SPCA in that district.
Provided that any society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals functioning in any district on the date of commencement of these rules shall continue to discharge its functions till establishment of the SPCA in that district under these rules.
(2) The Managing Committee of the Society shall be appointed by the State Government or the local authority of the district consisting of a Chairperson to be appointed by the State Government or the local authority of the district, as the case may be with the concurrence of the Board and shall consist of such number of other members as may be considered necessary by the State Government or the local authority of the district subject to the condition that
(i) at least two members shall be representatives of the Animal Welfare Organisations which are actively involved in the work of prevention of cruelty to animals and welfare of animals preferably from within the district; and
(ii) at least two members shall be the persons elected by the general body of members of the Society.
(3) The duties and powers of the Society shall be to aid the Government, the Board and local authority in enforcing the provisions of the Act and to make such bye-laws and guidelines as it may deem necessary for the efficient discharge of its duties.
(4) The Society, or any person authorized by it in this behalf, if it or he has reasonable grounds for believing that any person has committed an offence under the Act, it or such authorized person may require such person to produce forthwith any animal in his possession, control, custody or ownership, or any license, permit or any other document granted to such person or required to be kept by him under the provisions of the Act and may stop any vehicle or enter into any premises in order to conduct a search or inquiry and may seize an animal in respect of which it or such authorized person has reason to believe that an offence under the Act is being committed, and deal with it in accordance with law.
(5) In addition to the powers conferred by these rules, the State Government may, in consultation with the Board, confer such other powers upon any Society for exercising the powers and discharging the functions assigned to it under these rules.”
While 30 District SPCA’s need to be set up across Karnataka as per the AWBI Rules, let us start with Bengaluru and make this pilot project an EXAMPLE for the rest of India.