The High Court of Tripura has toughened its stand against cruelty to animals and passed two significant orders back to back while hearing public interest litigations pertaining to the open slaughtering of animals and unauthorised pet shops or breeders.

The first order came on November 9, where the High Court Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice SG Chattopadhyay took strong exceptions to the illegal sale and open slaughtering of animal meat and fish in the markets of Tripura.

The Bench was hearing a PIL moved by advocate Ankan Tilak Paul on behalf of litigant Arijit Bhowmik.
After hearing the arguments from the litigant the Court directed Agartala Municipal Corporation Authorities to take immediate steps to stop open slaughtering animals and fish.

“Learned counsel for the petitioner further drew the Court’s attention to an additional affidavit where he has pressed that illegal slaughtering and sale of animal products such as meat as well as fish is happening on the footpath of Agartala Municipal Corporation at various locations without a license,” the Court order read.

“Counsel for the Agartala Municipal Corporation further states that there is a place for the sale of meat within the Municipal market where licenses have been granted and he submits that if persons seek licenses from the concerned Municipal Corporation, the Municipal Corporation may verify the said situation and grant such licenses where permissible,” it said.

“However, we find from the allegations made by the petitioner in the affidavit that rampant illegal sale of meat as well as poultry and fish is happening throughout Agartala. Therefore, we direct the Agartala Municipal Corporation and its enforcement wing to upraise all such vendors throughout Agartala to move to locations where permission may be considered by Municipal Corporation and to carry out the trade in a manner that is hygienic, sanitary as well as appropriate for human consumption. Such exercise be carried out forthwith and action be immediately initiated to stop,” it added.

The court, however, granted two weeks time for the state to file an affidavit within the schedule of completion of the Slaughterhouse, Abattoir whereas the Agartala Municipal Corporation was directed to file an affidavit to this effect within 4 weeks. The next date for the hearing has been scheduled for December 14.

Hearing a separate PIL, the High Court has ordered the immediate closure of all the unlicensed pet shops and breeding centres.

The division led by Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty pronounced the order on Tuesday. The Court in its observation said that a total of 12 pet shops were being run in the Agartala city without obtaining the valid licenses from the Animal Husbandry Department of Tripura.

“This court records its surprise that once the authority has found the 12 (twelve) pet shops and breeding centres as being unlicensed, they were statutorily required to act in accordance with law and direct immediate closure of all such activities which cannot be carried out without the necessary licence,” the Court ruled.

The court directed the Animal Husbandry Department as well as the state animal welfare board and the Agartala municipal corporation to make sure that such unauthorized shops be closed with immediate effect.

“This court is further informed at the Bar that there appears also to be commercial activities in the sale of wild animals and birds duly notified under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Accordingly, we also direct the authorities under the Wildlife (Protection) Act to take similar action of closure of all such shops where animals and birds covered thereunder are being sold and such compliance order shall also be filed before this court within a period of two weeks,” the court order reads.

Next hearing on the case has been scheduled for December 7. (ANI)