This is the first time we are hearing that birds have fundamental rights under the Constitution,” the first bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed. The court also asked the petitioner, whether humans have the right to keep a pet inside a cage?

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Does the Constitution guarantee a bird’s right to fly? Madras HC wonders
The plea moved by Vinod O Jain of Chennai challenging the constitutional validity of the definition for ‘pet animals’ in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Rules.

Published: 15th September 2020 09:00 PM | Last Updated: 15th September 2020 09:00 PM | A+A A-
Parrot, Parakeet, Caged birds A caged bird. (Photo | Ashitha Jayaprakash)By Harish MuraliExpress News Service
CHENNAI: Does the Indian Constitution protect the fundamental rights of animals too? Say, ‘right to fly’ of birds?

This was the question raised before the first bench of the Madras high court on Tuesday by a petition that sought to exclude birds from the definition of ‘pet animals’.

The plea moved by Vinod O Jain of Chennai challenging the constitutional validity of the definition for ‘pet animals’ in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Rules.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that birds have the right to fly in the open sky and they cannot be kept inside the cages as pets.

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“This is the first time we are hearing that birds have fundamental rights under the Constitution,” the first bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed.

The court also asked the petitioner, whether humans have the right to keep a pet inside a cage?

“If we strike down the definition on this ground, then you will say that one cannot keep a fish as a pet in an aquarium.

If keeping animals in confinement is construed as cruelty then even keeping animals in zoos will become illegal confinement,” the bench added.

Recording the submissions, the division bench adjourned the PIL to Wednesday for passing final orders.

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