Gemini Circus is ill-treating animals, AWBI tells court

The circus had then filed a petition in the high court.

Mumbai: In reply to a petition filed by Gemini Circus challenging the Animal Welfare Board of India’s (AWBI’s) refusal to register its performing animals, the board has pointed out many violations pertaining to the welfare of these animals.

Earlier in 2015, the board cancelled the registration of the circus after an inspection revealed that its animals were not provided proper amenities. The circus’ petition prayed that though they applied for re-registration this year, the board did not respond, forcing them to approach the court.

A division bench of Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice N. Sardesai was hearing the writ petition filed by Gemini Circus through its partners. The petition stated that the board had cancelled the circus’ registration for performing animals in 2015 and despite a series of communications with the board, the circus management did not receive any response.

“The petition prays that the board had conducted an inspection of the animals in 2012 while the circus was stationed in Chennai, but had prepared a report and submitted it in 2014. Based on the report, the board issued a show-cause notice and suspended the circus’ Performing Animals Registration Certificate. After conducting a hearing in 2015, the board cancelled the registration, following which the circus management wrote several letters to the board asking for the decision to be reconsidered. But as there was no response from the board, my clients had to approach the court,” said advocate V.V. Pai, appearing for Gemini Circus.

Advocate K. Padmashri, appearing on behalf of the board, said, “The inspection committee found the condition of the animals — especially horses and dogs — to be very poor. There had been numerous violations in the upkeep of animals and, hence, registration had been revoked. We have filed our reply as directed by the court, along with pictorial evidence of the condition of the animals, some of whom were forced to work despite being injured and in bad shape.”

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