The Kerala High Court on 06.04.2020 allowed the pet owner of three felines to go out in his car and buy pet food for the felines despite lockdown restrictions imposed nationwide.

The order was pronounced on a petition filed by N.Prakash A. Narayana Rao, a 56 year old man residing in Kerala. In his petition, Narayana Rao seeked permission from the court, to go out and get one packet of 7 kilograms of “Meo-Persian” Biscuits that would be enough for feeding his felines throughout the lockdown period.   Referring to the Supreme Court judgement in Animal Welfare Board of India v A. Nagaraja – 2014 (7) SCC 547, he also pointed out that “animal feed and fodder” have been included as “essential items” in respect of which movement is permitted during the lockdown period in the guidelines issued by the Central Government in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The single bench comprising of Justice A.K Jayasankaran Nambiar ordered in favour of the petitioner citing Article 51, Part IV of the Constitution which clearly states as follows, “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.”

Justice Jayasankaran further referred to the Supreme Court Judgement in the case of Nagaraja (Supra) which recognized the right and dignity of animals to live lives free from cruelty. He also mentioned the guidelines passed by the World Health Organisation that has also found a place in Section 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, that defines the five internationally recognised freedoms for animals one of them being the right to freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition.

Referring to the abovementioned provisions, the Court decided on permitting the petitioner to obtain a pass from the police authorities for procuring food for his pets.

Pronouncing the order, Justice Nambiar stated as follows, “Before parting with this case, we might observe, in a lighter vein, that while we are happy to have come to the aid of the felines in this case, we are also certain that our directions will help avert a “CATastrophe” in the petitioner’s home.”

Order:W.P.(C). TMP-28 OF 2020