Guj HC judge gets PETA award for ordering release of birds

A Gujarat High court judge has been awarded the `Compassionate Action Award` by animal rights body People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for ordering the release of 494 birds illegally kept in cages by bird sellers.

Last Updated: May 18, 2011, 17:24 PM IST

Ahmedabad: A Gujarat High court judge has
been awarded the `Compassionate Action Award` by animal rights
body People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for
ordering the release of 494 birds illegally kept in cages by
bird sellers.

In his judgement of May 12, while hearing a bunch of
petitions filed by bird sellers, Justice M R Shah had observed
"to keep birds in cages would tantamount to illegal
confinement of the birds which is in violation of right of the
birds to live in free air and sky".

"It is the fundamental right of birds to live freely in
the open sky," he had further observed and ordered release
of 494 birds, including parrots, doves, pigeons, besides
animals like rabbits and dogs.
PETA India`s Poorva Joshipura said: "In ordering that the
birds be freed, Justice Shah has made a powerful statement
that violations of laws aimed at protecting animals must be
strongly enforced."

"We are calling on police and courts across India to set
a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who cages birds and thereby
denies these animals their precious and most fundamental right
to be able to fly," Joshipur said in a statement.
The Award citation said: "PETA India commends and thanks
Justice M R Shah for his compassionate decision stating that
birds have the right to fly free and not be caged. His
kindness will serve as an example for others to emulate."

In his order, Justice Shah had further observed that the
day has come to think about the rights of birds and animals.

He had made the observation while hearing a bunch of
petitions filed by bird sellers of Surat demanding interim
custody of the caged birds, which were confiscated by police
under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and under
section 12 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 last year.

The court was also of the opinion that prima facie an
offence of atrocity on birds and animals was made out against
the bird sellers.

"In the present case, the manner in which birds are kept
in small cages, that too, when their wings are cut; their
tails are cut; on their wings cello-tape is put and there are
rings on their feet, nothing can be more heinous than such
acts and there cannot be more glaring example of atrocity and
inhumanity," it had observed.

PTI