Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

A detailed study of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960

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Chapter I- Preliminary

The first chapter deals with the short title, extent, and commencement of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. This Act could also be called the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and applies to the entire of India. It defines some key terms essential for the understanding of this Act, like “board”, “street”, “captive animal”, “doom dev”, “phooka”, etc. The chapter also lists the duties of persons responsible for animals. Each such person must look after and watch out the animals and adopt reasonable measures to ensure that the animals are not subjected to unnecessary pain or suffering, and is handled in a humane way as possible.

Chapter II- Animal welfare board of India

This Chapter deals with details of the establishment and therefore the structure of the Animal Welfare Board of India. With the commencement of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Animal Welfare Board shall be established by the Central Government and shall be called the “Animal Board of India”. It shall be established with an object of protecting animals from unnecessary pain and suffering. Its power will be subject to the provisions of this Act. This Chapter also deals with the constitution and also the reconstitution of the Board. The Board is to be reconstituted on the expiration of each third year, from the date of its reconstitution. Secretary of the Board shall be appointed by the Central Government, and also the Board is entitled to appoint other officers and employees to discharge its service and should determine the terms and conditions of their occupation, provided they got the previous approval of the Central Government.

Functions of the Board

Section 9 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act deals with functions of the Board:

  • To constantly study and suggest amendments within the law for the prevention of cruelty to animals;
  • To advise the Central Government on making rules under this Act to further its objective;
  • To suggest changes in designs of vehicles to reduce the burden on draught animals;
  • To provide veterinary assistance to animals, because the Board thinks is important, by making sheds, water-troughs and therefore the like;
  • To overlook the upkeep and style of slaughterhouses to make sure unnecessary pain or suffering on animals is eliminated, i.e., animals are killed in as humane a fashion as possible;
  • To ensure that unwanted animals are killed by local authorities after being insensate to pain or suffering;
  • To divert some funds towards the building of pinjras, rescue homes, animal shelters, sanctuaries, etc. to ensure that the animals which became old or useless, are within the need of protection have a shelter;
  • To cooperate and overlook the functioning of associations or bodies found out for the aim of preventing unnecessary pain or suffering to animals;
  • To provide financial help to animal hospitals and advise the government on matters concerning these hospitals;
  • To spread awareness about stopping the cruel treatment of animals and spreading information about the humane treatment of the animals and spreading the message against cruel methods of pain or suffering. this will be done by the means of lecture, books, posters, cinematographic exhibitions, and 
  • To advise the government that everyone matters with respect to the humane treatment of animals.

Chapter III- Cruelty to animals generally

Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act lists out acts that will be considered being cruel to animals and prescribes punishment for an equivalent.

What comes under cruelty to animals?

If any person:

  • Subjects an animal to unnecessary pain by beating, kicking, overdriving or overriding, or torturing;
  • Being an owner, permits or employs an animal which is unfit (by the rationale on adulthood or disease) in any work or labour;
  • Unreasonably or wilfully administers, or cause an animal to require drugs or substance injurious to it;
  • Carries an animal in such a fashion on the subject it through unnecessary pain or suffering;
  • Puts an animal inside a cage or the other receptacle which is insufficient in dimensions to permit free movement to the animal;
  • Chains or keep an animal bound by an unreasonably short or heavy chain for an extended period of time;
  • Neglects to reasonably exercise any dog kept in close confinement;
  • Fails to supply sufficient food, water, or shelter to an animal of whom he/she is that the owner;
  • Abandons an animal where it’s clear that unnecessary pain or suffering shall be caused thereto under starvation or thirst;
  • Permits an animal which is diagnosed with a communicable disease to travel at large in any street, or allows the death of such diseased animal during a street;
  • Offers purchasable an animal which with none reasonable cause has been mutilated, starving, overcrowded or other such ill-treatment and is suffering pain thanks to the same;
  • Mutilates or kills any animal by using strychnine injections or the other cruel manner;
  • Subject an animal to confinement for the aim of baiting another animal or uses it for animal fighting with the only view of providing entertainment;

Shall be guilty of subjecting an animal to unnecessary pain or suffering.

Prescribed punishment

  • First offence- A fine between 10 Rupees to 50 Rupees;
  • Second or subsequent offence, committed within three years of previous offence- A fine between 25 Rupees to 100 Rupees, or with imprisonment to a term which can reach one year, or both.

Exceptions to the present Section

This Section holds the subsequent as exceptions:

  • Dehorning of cattle, or the castration or nose roping of any animal during a prescribed manner;
  • The killing of stray dogs in lethal chambers by prescribed methods
  • Extermination of any animal as per the provisions of the law effective at that time; and
  • Matters addressed in Chapter IV.

Other provisions of the Chapter

This chapter also prescribes a penalty for operations of practicing phooka or doom dev on milch animals (the practice of introducing air into the feminine parts of a milch animal with an object to draw off any secretion of milk from it) because it is harmful to them. Section 13 provides for the destruction of suffering animals. If the Court is satisfied that it’s best to finish the suffering of an animal which sustaining it might only lead it to more pain, it’s entitled to direct its death to any suitable person for that purpose and if any reasonable expenses are incurred within the process, an equivalent must be provided for by the owner as if it were a fine. It’s important to notice that no such order is often made without the owner’s assent, except if a veterinary officer responsible for that area gives his/ her assent thereto.

Chapter IV- Experimentation of animals

No provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act affect experimentation on animals for the needs of advancement by the discovery of physiological knowledge, or to get new information which can prolong the life, alleviate the suffering, or is towards making a cure for combating any disease, whether of citizenry, animals or plants. However, if the Board believes that an experiment is to be supervised, they’ll constitute a committee for an equivalent, they need to notify it within the Official Gazette and have full authority to make a decision the amount of the members of this Committee also as its procedure. One member shall be appointed by the Central Government too. The funding of the Committee shall be by contributions, donations, subscriptions, bequests, gifts, or grand by the government.

The Committee has the facility to constitute as many sub-committees because it requires for discharging the duty. Subcommittees shall contain Members of the Committee.

Aim of Rules made by the Committee

Rules made by the Committee shall be designed to secure the subsequent objects:

  • In case experiments are performed inside an establishment, responsibility shall be placed on the top of the institution. If the experiment is performed outside an establishment, the individuals performing it shall be held liable for it;
  • That experiments are performed without inflicting unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and if possible, anaesthetics should be provided to them to form them indifferent to pain;
  • If during an experiment, the animal involved has suffered such a lot of damage that restoring it shall only cause serious suffering, it should be destroyed while it’s still under anaesthesia;
  • Experiments on animals are avoided unless conditionally necessary, for instance, in medical schools, colleges, hospitals, etc. Tapes, models, and other teaching models may equally suffice;
  • Experiments on larger animals are to be avoided if an equivalent is often administered on smaller animals like guinea pigs and mice;
  • Experiments are performed merely for improving one’s manual skill;
  • Animals required for experimentation are taken care of properly, both before and after the conclusion of the experiment;
  • Records are maintained on the experimentation of animals.

Additional powers of the Committee

The Committee also has the facility to authorize any of its officers or the other person in writing to report on experiments being conducted during a certain place, if they feel an equivalent is important or if they need to see whether their rules are being complied with or not. Such a licensed person can enter anywhere at a time which he/she considers is cheap and inspect such an establishment, and need an individual to present a record on the experiments administered by that institution.

If on such record by the authorized person, the committee is satisfied that the principles found out by it aren’t being complied with, then it’s going to, after giving such institution an inexpensive chance of putting up a defence and justifying their actions, prohibit such institution from performing experiments for a specific time or indefinitely.

Section 20 prescribes penalties for contravention of any of the principles of the Committee and prescribes a fine which can not extend 200 Rupees. Just in case the experiment which caused the breach was done inside an establishment, the owner should be held guilty of the offence and punishable under this provision.

Chapter V- Performing animals

This chapter deals with the training and exhibition of performing animals. Only an individual who is registered as per the provisions of this Chapter may exhibit or train any performing animal. If the Central Government has issued a notification within the official gazette, specifically prohibiting the treatment of any animal as performing animal, such an animal can’t be exhibited.

The Court is entitled to limit the exhibition and training of animals in certain matters. If the Court believes that the exhibition or training of any performing animal is amid the very fact that it’s to undergo cruelty or any unnecessary pain or suffering, the Court has the authority to offer out Order against such person prohibiting or restricting the training or exhibition of such performing animal, or other directions regarding an equivalent.

A copy of this Order must be delivered to the prescribed authority under whom such person is registered. A person authorized in writing by such prescribed authority and a policeman not below the rank of a sub-inspector have the facility to enter the premises of such person at any reasonable time and inspect it. If any such animals are found, they’ll request him/ her to furnish his/her certificate of registration. It’s important to notice that this section doesn’t allow a police inspector or the authorized person to travel behind the stage during a public performance of performing animals.


If any person-

  • Who has not obtained a registration certificate as mentioned within the act and is engaged in training and exhibition of performing animals;
  • Who has obtained a registration certificate but doesn’t handle the animals within the mode or manner that the registration has been provided;
  • Trains or exhibits any animal which has been specifically notified to not be employed by notification within the official gazette;
  • Obstructs or wilfully delays inspection by the authorized person or the police inspector;
  • Conceals any animal to avoid inspection;
  • Fails to supply the certificate of registration, despite being registered, without an inexpensive excuse;
  • Applies to be registered by the act when he/ she isn’t entitled to be registered;

He/ she shall be punishable with a fine which can reach 500 Rupees, or with imprisonment which can reach three months, or both.


The following are exempted from the provisions of this chapter:

  • Training or exhibition of animals for a bonafide military or police purpose;
  • A society or institution which keeps animals in any menagerie for educational or scientific purposes.

Chapter VI- Miscellaneous

Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act explicitly excludes and doesn’t treat the killing of animals during a manner required by the faith of any community as an offence.

The Court has the discretion to deprive an individual of the ownership of an animal if convicted of an offence. If the Court believes that aside from prescribing a punishment, the animal with reference to which the offence was committed shall be forfeited to the government, it can give an order to try to so and further, make an order with reference to its disposal if required also.

In some cases, presumptions on guilt could also be assumed. If an individual is charged with the offence of killing a cow, goat or its progeny, and is found with the skin of such animal with any a part of the skin of the warmth attached thereto at the time the offence was imagined to are committed, it shall be presumed that he/ she is guilty of killing the animal during a cruel and inhumane manner.

If a policeman, not below the rank of a sub-inspector, or an individual authorized by the government during this behalf features a reason to believe that an animal is being subjected to unnecessary cruelty or finds a person with the skin of an animal with some skin of the top attached thereto, he/she is permitted to look such person and seize any such skin or article or thing used for the commission of such offence.

Additionally, if a police inspector not below the rank of sub-inspector, or an individual authorized by the government during this behalf features a reason to suspect that doom dev or phooka is being performed on any milch animal, he/she may seize such animal and produce it before a veterinarian officer-in-charge of the world where such animal was seized.

The chapter also deals with search warrants and details of who has what power when it involves the method of seizure for examination. It provides for indemnity, power of the Central Government to form rules, limitation of prosecutions, and delegation of powers too.

Treatment and care of animals

Section 35 deals with treatment and care of animals concerned under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, against which offences are committed.

The government may appoint infirmaries to seem after the animals in respect of which offences mentioned during this Act are committed, and has the facility to detain such animal for its production before Court;

The Magistrate may direct that the animal concerned is to be treated and cared for until it’s fit to be discharged, or be sent to a pinjrapole; however, if the veterinary officer is of the opinion that it’s incurable, such an animal is to be destroyed;

An animal being treated within the infirmary can’t be discharged without a certificate of fitness given by the veterinarian office responsible of the world, except, where such animal is to be sent to a pinjrapole or destroyed;

The cost of transporting the animal to the infirmary, and its maintenance and treatment shall be borne by the magistrate or the commissioner of police (within the presidency-towns), as long as the magistrate orders so on account of utmost poverty of the owner;

Any amount payable by the owner could also be recovered within the same manner as an arrear of land revenue;

If the owner neglect to get rid of the animal from the infirmary or refuses to try to do so, the magistrate is permitted to order purchasable of such animal and use the cash so obtained for payment of its treatment and maintenance;

The amount which is surplus from the sale, if any, shall be paid to the owner, provided he/she applies within two months of such sale.

Amendments to the Act

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was amended within the year 1982. As per the new amendment, cruelty to animals is an offence punishable by a fine of not but 10,000 Rupees, which can reach 25,000 Rupees, or imprisonment which can reach a period of two years, or both.

In case of second or subsequent offences, the offence is punishable with a fine, not but 50,000 Rupees, but may reach one lakh Rupees and with imprisonment for a period which can reach 3 years. This amendment is awaiting approval from the government of India and as of now, the 1962 Act is being followed. That prescribes a measly fine of fifty Rupees for the offence.

Organizations like the local SPCA, PFA, and Fosterdopt are actively engaged during this cause and help the overall population in reporting such crimes and ensuring that the offender is punished. Thanks to their efforts, tons of change has been observed within the country.

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