The Kerala High Court on Tuesday responded to the “desperate purrs of three felines” whose owner Mr N. Prakash from Kerala had approached the Court alleging that he was denied a vehicle pass to venture out and purchase “Meo-Persian” biscuits for his cats. Mr Prakash told the Kerala High Court via video conferencing that being a pure vegetarian himself, he had never cooked non-vegetarian food in his house and that his cats cannot do without their Meo-Persian biscuits.
The closest place for him to purchase the biscuits, the Cochin Pet Hospital, was a considerable distance away from his house and he stated that he would make one trip to the store to buy 7-kgs of the biscuits which will see his cats through rest of the lockdown period. Mr Prakash argued that in accordance with earlier Supreme Court judgements, animals too had a fundamental right to life under Article 21 and therefore, the police cannot deny him permission to buy food for his cats.
He further substantiated his stand saying that the Ministry of Home Affairs had included “animal feed and fodder” as “essential items” in their notification.
Justices A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P. Chaly of the Kerala High Court today recognised the right of Prakash to buy the biscuits for his cats while stating, “Over the last seven decades of working our democratic Constitution, we have focused primarily on the rights available to our citizens. We have conveniently forgotten that the human species is not alone on this planet and that there are other claimants to the bounty that nature has to offer.”
Moreover, the Kerala High Court went on to say that in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment from 2014 in the case of Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, the Supreme Court had manifested a shift in judicial thinking, from one of merely safeguarding animal welfare to recognising the right and dignity of animals to live lives free from cruelty. On a lighter note, the judges ended their judgment stating that their directions will certainly help avert a “CATastrophe” in Mr Prakash’s home.