Punjab and Haryana High Court declares Animals as legal persons
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently ruled that all animals are legal persons entitled to legal rights like human beings in Haryana. The verdict comes nearly a year after Uttarakhand High Court passed a similar order to protect and promote greater welfare of animals. Both the orders were written by Justice Rajiv Sharma, who was transferred from Uttarakhand to the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh in 2018. The order was passed in a case where the Punjab and Haryana High Court was informed that 29 cows were packed in a cruel manner while being transported from Uttar Pradesh to Haryana. In response, Justice Sharma’s order emphasizes that animals cannot be reduced to mere property. This includes a ban in using animals to pull vehicles in extreme weather, limits on loads and the number of people that animals are made to carry, limits on the distances that an animal is made to walk at a stretch, instructions on how to tether an animal to the vehicle it is made to pull and a ban on the use of spike sticks, harness and other sharp instruments to avoid injuring the animal. The Court has also directed that animal-driven carts are given the ‘Right of Way’.