The Mumbai Police top brass has issued orders instructing all police station staff to handle cases of animal cruelty in a sensitive and sympathetic manner, as well as to ensure that all relevant sections are added to the FIR to ensure the strictest punishment for the accused.
A circular to this effect was issued on July 26 this year, which stated that repeated negligence and lack of awareness have been observed on part of police station personnel in such cases.
“A large number of police personnel have been found to be unaware of the various laws and provisions regarding cases of cruelty to animals. Further, the apathy displayed in such cases results in a major time lapse in the investigation. In some cases, the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Maharashtra Police Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act are not invoked,” the circular, signed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Sanjay Latkar states.
It further states that complaints have also been received by the top brass that FIRs are not immediately registered in such cases by police stations and that providing proper guidance to investigating officers is the responsibility of the senior police inspector in charge of the police station.
“Hence, it is important to ensure that all relevant laws are invoked in cases of animal cruelty, as well as to handle such cases in a sensitive and sympathetic manner. The zonal Deputy Commissioners of Police will oversee all such cases registered at police stations,” the circular says.
The move was welcomed by animal rights activists who have for long lamented the lack of seriousness on part of the police, even as cases of cruelty to animals continue to rise in numbers as well as get more and more serious in nature.