“Enactment of law, but tolerating its infringement, is worse than not enacting a law at all. The continued infringement of law, over a period of time, is made possible by adoption of such means which are best known to the violators of law. Continued tolerance of such violations of law not only renders legal provisions nugatory but such tolerance by the enforcement authorities encourages lawlessness and adoption of means which cannot, or ought not to, be tolerated in any civilized society.” – Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India & Ors. (1996) 5 SCC 281.
In a suo motu PIL taken up by the High Court of Manipur, the abovementioned observation made by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India was stressed upon and accordingly the Hon’ble High Court loathed the “callous attitude being shown to by the State Government and the insensibility to the issue relating to the welfare of the animals. . .”
A bench comprising of Hon’ble Chief Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice Kh. Nobin Singh, opined that it has been more than more than 50 years since the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 have been enacted and it has been more than a decade that rules thereunder have been brought into effect, yet the State Government has failed to ensure that the Animal Welfare Board, as well as Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPACs), are functional. The Hon’ble High Court also asserted that the State government cannot afford to ignore the guidelines being made by the Apex Court in Animal Welfare Board of India v. Nagaraja (2014) 7 SCC 547. A complaint being made by one Shri L. Biswajeet Maitei regarding transportation of dogs in a cruel manner and further assistance being given by one NGO People For Animals in safeguarding and granting medical assistance and shelter to those dogs formed the genesis of this PIL.
The judgment also has a reference to various Apex Court judgments regarding the importance of animal welfare under article 21 as it has a direct nexus with the welfare of humans and environment at the same time.
While concluding the judgment, the bench directed the State Government to implement the Act as well as the rules made thereunder as well as the compliance report of the same shall be submitted in the court within four months from the date of this order.
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