Despite violation of animal rights, the Environment Ministry has failed to notify rules for the past five years to regulate the pet care market in India estimated at Rs 800 crore citing lack of enabling provisions in the law, the Law Commission said.
The panel recommended that the Ministry is authorised to notify rules under the Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960 and these should be implemented at the earliest. In its latest report ‘Need to Regulate Pet Shops and Dog and Aquarium Fish Breeding’, the law panel said it delved into the issue of whether the government is empowered to notify three sets of rules regarding pet shops, dog breeding and aquarium fish breeding.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, in consultation with the Law Ministry of Law, had pleaded helplessness in notifying these rules quoting the absence of enabling provision in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, it said.
But the Commission recommended that since the rules on pet shops, dog breeding and aquarium fish breeding were drafted in consultation with stakeholders and lying pending since 2010, these “be notified and implemented at the earliest”.
Quoting NGOs and stakeholders, the Commission said the Indian pet-care market is estimated to reach about Rs 800 crore in 2015 but it remains unregulated where cruelty on animals is the norm. Quoting analysis of legal position, representations received by it and the large number of reports on the issue, the panel said “it appears that the provisions of the law are violated with impunity by pet shops and breeders.
“In these circumstances, the Commission recommends that the central government must seriously take cognisance of the issue and regulate the trade in pet shops, and practices followed in dog breeding and aquarium fish breeding. Secondly, rules regarding pet shops, dog breeding, and aquarium fish breeding clearly fall within and have a rational nexus to the object and purpose of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and the Ministry has authority to make these rules.”
Law Secretary P K Malhotra, an ex officio member of the Commission said that it would not be appropriate on the part of the Law Commission to give any report on the subject as the Department of Legal Affairs is reviewing its advice given in 2012 on the matter. He refused to sign the report, Commission chairman A P Shah said in a letter to the Law Minister while forwarding the recommendations.
Another Ex-Officio Member, Sanjay Singh, who is Secretary, Legislative Department, suggested certain changes to the report, which were carried out. However, he returned the report without his signature, Shah said in the letter.
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