The judgment of Apex Court in this case issignificant in three ways, firstly, the practice of Jallikattu and Bullockcartrace is declared as violative of the provisions of PCA Act. Secondly, the Courtdeclared that Bulls are not a performing animal. Thirdly, the Court stated theanimal life should be included within the meaning of Article 21 of the IndianConstitution. The first two points are not controversial as it is in accordancewith the law of the land. However, the third point, i.
e. the inclusion ofanimal life under article 21 may be a ground for serious criticisms. Some ofthe possible arguments are discussed hereunder.
The Article 21 of theConstitution provides that, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personalliberty except according to procedure established by law.” The personshere include both natural and juridical persons. This is because, according toIndian Penal Code, ‘the word “person includes any company or association orbody of persons, whether incorporated or not8 . The General Clauses Act, 1897also defines, the word person as any company or association or body ofindividuals, whether incorporated or not9 . Thus a joint reading of these 8 SeeSection 11 of the Code. 9 See Section 3 (39) of the Act. 23 IND I A N JOU R NAL O F LE G AL PHI L O SO PHY ISSN : 2347- 4963; IMPACT FACTOR : 1.
116 VOLUME3, ISSUE 4, DECEMBER 2015 definitions shows that, the word person should beconfined to natural persons and juridical persons. When the scope of Article 21to animals, the question arises whether they can be treated as persons? If theanswer is negative the extension of Article 21 to animals is a futile attempt.The rights are generally being conferred to persons who are being capable ofreason and choice. Animals, since they lack reason, are not persons, andtherefore are categorized as things.
Moreover, only a human has the power todeal with other members of his own species by voluntary means: rationalpersuasion and a code of morality rather than physical force. So also undertraditional conceptions of law, animals were typically regarded as objects ofrights vested in their human owners but not as the holders of rights againsthuman beings10 . The animals are not capable of exercising claims against others,or comprehending the rules of moral duty.
Therefore, animals have no rights.Since human beings are the only beings capable of exercising claims againstothers, only human beings have rights 11 . Therefore, conferring a right to anentity which does not have a reason is impermissible. The object of thefundamental right under Article 21 is to prevent encroachment upon personalliberty and deprivation of life except according to procedure established bylaw.
It clearly means that this fundamental right has been provided againststate only. If an act of private individual amounts to encroachment upon thepersonal liberty or deprivation of life of other person, such violation wouldnot fall under the parameters set for the Article 21. In such a case the remedyfor aggrieved person would be either under Article 226 of the 10 Richard A.Epstein, “Animals as Objects, or Subjects, of Rights”, Working Paper No. 171,(2002). Available athttp://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.
cgi?article=1052&context=law_and_economics, visited on 21. 10. 2014. 11 Carl Cohen, “The Case for the Use of Animals inBiomedical Research”, The New England Journal of Medicine 314 (1986) 865-869.
24 IND I A N JOU R N AL O F LE G AL PHI L O SO PHY ISSN : 2347- 4963; IMPACT FACTOR: 1.116 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 4, DECEMBER 2015 constitution or under general law12.Thus in case where State involves in any cruel practices against animals, theArticle 21 may provide remedy. Generally private parties are at the forefrontof cruel practices against animals. This means that, the extension of Article21 is not worth for protection of animals. Further, in various cases theHon’ble Supreme Court and various High Courts have observed the Article 21contains everything connected with human dignity. The dynamic interpretationsgiven by Courts to Article 21 are to establish new facets of right to lifewhich are essential for a decent life. The Courts repeatedly pointed out invarious cases life means not a mere animal existence.
If the life under article21 includes animal life also, then this would undermine the various landmarkjudgments in which Courts has stated Article 21 protects all ingredients whichmakes a man’s life meaningful and worth living. The life under Article 21, ifcovers animal right also, then it will have a severe impact in the society. Noone can chain an animal, kill, eat, etc. of any animal. This would lead toimbalance in the society. It is an illusion to think both animal and human getssame status in the society.
These trends of conferring fundamental rights toanimals continues any one file a case representing any animal and seek remedyfor violation of various rights already established under Article 21. So alsoanother pertinent question arise here is animal includes various category ofanimals, out of these which category can be given the rights and which can beexcluded. It is to be noted here that, if life includes animal life, theliteral interpretation presupposes all animals are entitled to get similarrights. Moreover, the fundamental rights are considered as natural rights whichhave its origin in natural law theories. It is generally agreed that naturalrights are inherent in human beings and cannot be 12 Vidhan Maheshwari,”Article 21 of the Constitution of India – The Expanding Horizons”, availableat http://www.legalserviceindia.com/articles/art222.
htm, visited on 21. 10.2014. 25 IND I A N JOU R N AL O F LE G AL PHI L O SO PHY ISSN : 2347- 4963;IMPACT FACTOR : 1.116 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 4, DECEMBER 2015 taken away by State13.Hence, it can be argued that, since natural rights are applicable only to humanbeings, the extension of such rights to animals cannot be justified.
It is ahard reality that, though there are various laws for the protection of animalsin India, the cruel practices against animals are in rise. The law of the landprovides for protection and humane treatment of animals, as citizens of Indiait is our fundamental duty to enforce these laws to protect the helplessanimals who suffers in name of Religion, Science, Health, Commerce etc 14 .Protection of animals is not possible by the government authorities alone.There should be a concern from the mind of all humans that, the animals, theyare also the owners of this earth and it is the duty of humans to ensureminimum or no suffering to animals for human pleasure.