SC to consider if birds have fundamental right to fly

SC to consider if birds have fundamental right to fly

Freedom in the sky

SC to consider if birds have fundamental right to fly

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider whether right to fly for birds is a fundamental right, which would have far reaching implications for pet owners and sellers in the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu issued a notice to the Gujarat government on an appeal against the state’s high court that birds have fundamental right to fly and therefore cannot be caged. Appearing for ‘Pet Lovers’ Association’, senior advocate Salman Khurshid pointed to laws to protect domesticated birds, urging the apex court to strike down the flawed HC order.

He said the order went against Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Wildlife Protection Act and would lead to needless harassment of pet lovers and traders. “Several studies and researches have demonstrated that birds and animals can play a positive role in the improvement of health problems and can be psychologically comforting to human beings. Therefore it becomes imperative to have a mechanism in place for their proper treatment and custody and eliminate any possibility of misuse of the provisions of various Animal Welfare legislations by NGOs,” the petition stated.

The court had earlier refused to entertain the appeal against the Gujarat HC order due to delay and asked Khurshid to file a PIL.

In 2011, Gujarat HC had said birds cannot be caged since flying is their fundamental right, something the Delhi High Court reiterated in March this year by saying birds have fundamental right to “live with dignity” and fly in the sky without being caged or subjected to cruelty. The HC also said trading them was a violation of their rights.

The petitioner claimed authorities conducted periodical and illegal raids, causing undue hardship and harassment to pet lovers and owners.