In an interesting decision by the Kerala High Court, its Special Bench on Monday, 6 April, allowed a cat owner to buy cat food for his three pets at home, amid the strict lockdown barriers. The man's plea was heard by the court after the police denied permission to step out for the need to feed his feline friends at home.
Cats given their rights!
A bench comprising Justices AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P Chaly, during the hearing conducted through video conferencing, noted that animal food and fodder are covered under essential items.
The court also informed that they will pass an immediate general order to this effect.
The owner of three cats, N Prakash, filed his petition after his request for a pass to travel to Kochi was rejected by the police. Since he and his cats ate only vegetarian foods, it was not possible for him to give any other non-veg meals for instead. The only way out was to provide them a particular brand of biscuits that was available in the nearby shop.
According to the guidelines issued by Kerala Police, people need to obtain a prior permit based on an affidavit for going out of their homes for essential services during the lockdown period.
Court grants permission
Prakash had applied online for vehicle pass for travelling to Cochin Pet Hospital on April 4 for buying the said brand of cat food, as the food in stock got exhausted, but his application got rejected, stating that the officers regret to inform that his request for affidavit/ emergency pass has been rejected.
The petitioner had also contended that the right to get food and shelter is a guaranteed right for domestic animals under Sections 3 and 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Acting upon the plea, a bench of Hon'ble Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Hon'ble Justice Shaji P Chali allowed Prakash to get the cat food on the basis of a self declaration, along with the order of Court.