Animal rights body PETA has raised its concern with the Home Affairs Committee over the absence of any provision related to sexual violence against animals in the proposed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, which is set to replace the IPC.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) currently covers the sexual violence against animals.
"At present, there is no provision in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, that provides animals the same protection," the PETA said in a letter written to the Home Affairs Committee on September 14.
The Supreme Court had in 2018 partially struck down Section 377 of the IPC but retained protection for animals, children and others.
The top court had then observed, “The provisions of Section 377 will continue to govern non-consensual sexual acts against adults, all acts of carnal intercourse against minors and acts of bestiality.” The PETA's second recommendation is to expand Clause 323 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, by defining “maiming” or “rendering useless any animal” so that the provision can be implemented in letter and spirit.
"We also recommend strengthening penalties for these crimes to better protect Bharat's human and non-human citizens. We have noted the removal of using the monetary value of an animal to determine their worthiness of protection and express our immense gratitude to the Ministry of Home Affairs for this progressive shift," the animal rights body said.
The PETA said it hopes the new legislation provides the strongest level of protection for "our non-human citizens" and added that safeguarding animals is "our nation's duty, a moral obligation and a societal responsibility".
In 2021, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) released a report revealing that in the decade prior, 4,93,910 animals of a huge variety of species, including cows, dogs and wild animals, were known victims of a range of crimes, including sexual violence.
Previously, a Voice of Stray Dogs (VOSD) report had calculated that sexual abuse against animals was committed at a similar rate to human rape cases, taking underreporting of this crime into account.
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