In a unique ruling, the Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of “legal person or entity” to animals in the State.
Delivering a judgement, the top court of the state said “they have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.”
A Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Lokpal Singh bestowed the unique status on animal kingdom while issuing a series of directions to prevent cruelty against animals. “…to protect and promote greater welfare of animals including avian and aquatic, animals are required to be conferred with the status of legal entity/ legal person,” the Bench said.
The entire animal kingdom, including avian and aquatic ones, are declared as legal entities having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person. All the citizens throughout the State of Uttarakhand hereby declared persons in loco parentis as the human face for the welfare/protection of animals, it added.
The court also declared all Uttarakhand natives the guardians of animals and endowed them with the duty to ensure their welfare and protection.
In common law jurisprudence, there are two types of persons — natural persons or human beings and artificial person, which are also known as juristic persons, juridical entity or a legal person other than a natural person.
Legal or juristic persons are created by law and recognised as a legal entity, having distinct identity, legal personality and besides duties and rights. They include private business firm or entity, non-governmental or government organisations, trusts and societies, besides others.
The Division Bench also gave directions ranging from the amount of load allowed to be pulled by various animals in accordance with the kind of carriage being pulled to the amount of riders per carriage.