Report No. 261
2.4.5 The rules on pet shops, dog breeding and aquarium fish breeding are also justified under the principles of the Indian Constitution. Article 51A(g) of the Constitution states that "It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures."19
19 India Constitution article 51A(g).
2.4.6 It must also be noted that the PCA Act has a built-in check to ensure that the Central Government does not exceed its authority when drafting rules. Section 38A provides that all rules and regulations must be laid before each House of Parliament.20
20 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, § 38A.
2.4.7 Section 3 of the PCA Act further substantiates the purpose of the Act. The section provides for the duties of persons having charge of animals, and states that, "It shall be the duty of every person having the care or charge of any animal to take all reasonable measures to ensure the well-being of such animal and to prevent the infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering."
2.4.8 Regarding the issue of species covered under the WPA,21 there is a clear and complete prohibition on the trade or rearing of such species and therefore, the provisions of the WPA must be strictly enforced to ensure their implementation. The present opinion, therefore, in its reference to the rules on pet shops, dog breeding and aquarium fish breeding, relates only to those species that are not regulated or prohibited under the WPA.
21 Section 39(1) states that every wild animal (other than vermin) is considered state property, and Section 39(3) provides that no person is allowed to (a) acquire or keep in his possession, custody, or control, (b) transfer to any person, whether by way of gift, sale or otherwise, or (c) destroy or damage such Government property without previous permission from the Chief Wild Life Warden.
According to Section 40(2) of the Act, no person shall "acquire, receive, keep in his control, custody or possession, sell, offer for sale, or otherwise transfer or transport any animal specified" in Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II of the Act, unless granted an authorization to do so by "the Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorised officer." (Schedule I and Schedule II of the Act lists animals that are protected under the WPA.)
Further, Section 43(a) further prohibits the trade, commerce, and transfer of certain rare and endangered wild animals. Additionally, the Act, under Section 49, prohibits the purchasing or acquiring of any captive or wild animal from anyone except a licensed dealer or person otherwise authorized to sell the animal.
2.4.9 Based on this analysis of the legal position, the representations received by the Commission in this regard, as well as the large number of reports on the issue, it appears that the provisions of the law are violated with impunity by pet shops and breeders. In these circumstances, the Central Government must seriously take cognizance of the issue and regulate the trade in pet shops, and practices followed in dog breeding and aquarium fish breeding.