The Supreme Court on Thursday sought the response of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to a plea on rising instances of "barbaric cruelty" on animals and their exploitation in the pet shop industry.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan issued notice to AWBI and impleaded it as a party in the matter in which the apex court had earlier sought the Centre's response.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Angel Trust, informed the bench that the Centre had not yet filed its reply on the plea.
The plea has sought framing of guidelines regarding punishment for animal abuse and regulation of the pet shop industry, contending that there was a "vacuum in law".
Bhushan had earlier told the court that the Law Commission had given a detailed report regarding animals being treated cruelly at pet shops and said the government has not yet notified the rules prepared by AWBI, which should be done immediately.
The NGO had also contended that stringent punishment should be awarded for the offence of cruelty to animals.
"The alarming rise of instances of barbaric animal cruelty and inhuman exploitation in pet shop industry occur due to a vacuum in law with respect to animal abuse and exploitation," it had said.
The plea also said that perpetrators were aware that due to the "toothless legislation and lackadaisical enforcement", they would go scot-free and thus commit heinous crimes against animals with impunity.
It cited several incidents of brutality to animals including a March 20, 2016 incident in which a man was caught on CCTV stabbing to death three stray dogs and a puppy outside the Green Park Metro Station in New Delhi.
"The report (filed by Law Commission in 2015) observes that pet shops and breeders violate provisions of animal welfare laws with impunity and recommends that it is necessary to regulate their practices.
"Some of the horror that go on in this illicit and unregulated trade include selling unweaned pups, drugging puppies to prevent them from crying, stuffing large birds in small cages, cutting their beaks with knives, de-clawing kittens etc," the plea said.