Supreme Court expands its Jurisdiction

  • The Supreme Court has been known to give a highly liberal interpretation to fundamental rights in many environmental cases over the years thereby encompassing rights such as right to pollution free environment, right to clean drinking water etc within its broader framework.
  • In a new direction, the Supreme Court took upon itself the task of deciding if birds had a fundamental right to fly and hence if caging them effectively deprived them of this right.
  • A Bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justices Shiva Kirti Singh and Amitava Roy decided to look into the validity of Gujarat High Court order holding that birds had a fundamental right to fly.


  • The Gujarat High Court’s order was passed in light of a case of 494 birds being seized from hawkers. These birds were caged and had their tails cut off. It held that keeping birds in cages amounted to illegal confinement and that they had a fundamental right to be free.
  • However an NGO, Pet Lovers’ Association challenged the above order contending that it was violative of provisions of the Wildlife Protection and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Acts.
  • The Supreme Court will decide on the question of right of hawkers to a livelihood vis-a vis the right of birds to not be caged.

News Item Compiled by Manasa B. H.


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