New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday February 9 asked the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to conduct a survey on circus animals without renewed registration and submit a detailed report within eight weeks.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh was hearing the plea filed by the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India which sought an immediate ban on the use of animals in circuses by the Centre, notifying The Performing Animals (Registration) (Amendment) Rules, 2018.
The plea also sought to know the condition of the animals in circuses and zoos which have been closed down during the pandemic.
During the course of the hearing, the bench noted that the animal board has all the available records for the circuses. The bench directed that AWBI get in touch with all circuses and enquire about the location and well-being of animals held by them and conduct inspection and survey.
Earlier in November last year, the high court had expressed unhappiness over the lack of attention of the AWBI in a matter related to the captive animals kept in zoos, saying it will not hesitate to initiate contempt proceedings in this regard.
PETA had submitted that the reply on its application is awaited since January 2021 and the respondents have failed to file any reply till now.
Coming down heavily on the animal board, the bench also had asked the Secretary, AWBI to be personally present in the court during the hearing.
In a similar plea, during the last hearing, the Federation for Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) sought to rescue animals in circuses due to the Covid-19 pandemic and challenging Sections 21 to 27 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to the extent that they permit exhibition and training of animals in or for or in relation to circus acts.