Uttarakhand HC declares entire animal kingdom as legal entities

The Uttarakhand High Court has declared entire animal kingdom i.e. all animals, including avian and aquatic species as legal entities with rights, duties, and liabilities of living person. The order was given by Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lok Pal.

The Division Bench of High Court was hearing PIL by Narayan Dutt Bhatt, filed in 2014 where petitioner had sought directions to restrict movement of horse carts (tongas) between India and Nepal through Banbasa in Champawat district of Uttarakhand. However, High Court had enlarged scope of the petition in larger public interest to promote protection and welfare of the animals.

The court ruled that entire animal kingdom, including avian and aquatic ones, are legal entities and have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of living person. All the citizens throughout the state are hereby declared persons in loco parentis as the human face for welfare and protection of animals. It directed State Government that no animal, including horses moving between India and Nepal, carries excess weight. It also banned use of any sharp equipment throughout the state to avoid bruises, swelling, abrasions or severe pain to animals.

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 legal person other than the natural person. Legal or juristic persons are created by law and recognized as a legal entity, having a distinct identity, legal personality and besides duties and rights. They include private business firm or entity, non-governmental or government organizations, trusts, and societies, besides others.

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