IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Supreme Court to examine Kerala Act on animal, bird sacrifices

17th July, 2020 Society


  • The Supreme Court agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the Kerala Animals and Bird Sacrifices Prohibition Act of 1968 that prohibits sacrifice of animals and birds in temples to ‘please’ the deity.


  • Highlighted the “dichotomy” in animal protection law that allows killing of animals for food but does not permit “killing of animals for offer to a deity and then consumption”.
  • How the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 allows killing of animals but prohibits cruelty to animals.

Petitioner’s argument:

  • Animal sacrifice was an “essential religious practice” and the High Court had no power to interfere.
  • The Act criminalises the intent behind the animal sacrifice, and not animal sacrifice per se.
  • If the sacrifice is not for propitiating any deity but for personal consumption even in the precincts of temple, it is not forbidden.
  • This arbitrary classification is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1960 does not make killing of animals for religious purposes an offence.
  • However, the 1968 State law bans killing of animals and birds for religious sacrifices but not for personal consumption.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1960:

  • Made to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and to amend the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals.
  • Formed the Animal Welfare Board of India.
  • Provide for prohibition of experimentation on animals.

Animal Welfare Board of India:

  • Established by central government
  • To promote animal welfare generally
  • To protect animal from unnecessary pain and suffering


  • Advice central govt. regarding amendments
  • Advice central govt. regarding rules to prevent unnecessary pain while transporting, performing experiments or in captivity.
  • Suggest govt. about design of transport vehicle.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sc-to-examine-kerala-act-on-animal-bird-sacrifices/article32103227.ece#:~:text=The%20Supreme%20Court%20on%20Thursday,to%20'please'%20the%20deity.&text=%E2%80%9CThe%20Act%20criminalises%20the%20intent,not%20animal%20sacrifice%20per%20se.