The Union government has suggested amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (POCA) to raise the penalty for animal cruelty from Rs 50 to Rs 75,000, or “three times the cost of the animal,” in addition to up to five years in prison. This strategy is based on caste and class exclusivity, and it is unlikely to solve institutionalised animal cruelty.Cruelty is a legal term that contains cultural values related to animal suffering. Cruelty is defined as unacceptably excessive animal suffering, according to the animal rights movement and legal law. The Supreme Court held in Animal Welfare Board of India v. A Nagaraja that animal suffering committed for “legitimate” causes is not cruelty. Brahmanical concepts of pain, validity, and proportionality continue to be inscribed in public and legal views of cruelty and which animals need to be protected from it. In Nagaland, for example, the prohibition on dog meat commerce was based on animal cruelty. On stray dogs, allegedly inhumane death methods were utilised.

However, the enforced restriction was an arbitrary and disproportionate limitation on all dog meat, not on inhumane killing techniques to alleviate cruelty. In the meanwhile, instead of blanket meat prohibitions, regulations restrict just inhumane killing techniques for other animals such as poultry and cattle.The Sapera and Madari groups (formerly criminalised tribes now classified as Denotified Tribes) are snake-charmers and monkey-performers, respectively. These communities are framed as offenders facing incarceration under POCA and wildlife protection legislation, with no prospects for rehabilitation. The police frequently use POCA to avoid sanctioning dominant caste families that invite snake charmers to their homes for the annual Hindu festival of Nag Panchami.

Increased fines and stricter criminal laws do not discourage crime, according to criminal justice research. As a result, harsher punishments are unlikely to reduce the number of cases of animal homicide and puppy violence. By vilifying these encounters as cruelty, the POCA becomes another weapon for the authorities to criminalise populations who rely on animal labour for a living. Given the police’s selective enforcement and planned increased fines, there’s a real danger that criminalization could exacerbate marginalisation.It is a well-established legal concept that the severity of the offence should be reflected in the severity of the punishment. However, due to cultural effects on criminal law, the sliding scale of sentences is sometimes unfair. The legitimization of Brahmanical morality in recent years has resulted in the punishment for unauthorised cow slaughter in Gujarat being higher than for some types of culpable homicide.Other regulations, such as tax and gaming laws, that are based on similar cultural beliefs, unfairly criminalise marginalised populations. The police frequently utilise their broad discretionary powers to extort and harass vulnerable people. Lower courts regularly deny bail for simple alcohol possession, implying that the judiciary is involved in entrenching societal beliefs.

Animal rights activists come from upper castes and social strata. They’ve developed the reputation of being a type of pressure group throughout time. They “asked” greater POCA sanctions in order to strike a balance between human and animal demands. However, their balancing scales ignore the lives of lower caste and class people. Indigenous civilizations, who have evolved and complex customs of honouring all sentient beings, have minimal contact with these groups.

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