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Open AccessArticle

Compassion for Living Creatures in Indian Law Courts

Director of Research (Emeritus), National Centre for Scientific Research, 75016 Paris, France
Religions 2019, 10(6), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060383
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 2 June 2019 / Accepted: 10 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
The Constitution of India through an amendment of 1976 prescribes a Fundamental Duty ‘to have compassion for living creatures’. The use of this notion in actual legal practice, gathered from various judgments, provides a glimpse of the current debates in India that address the relationships between humans and animals. Judgments explicitly mentioning ‘compassion’ cover diverse issues, concerning stray dogs, trespassing cattle, birds in cages, bull races, cart-horses, animal sacrifice, etc. They often juxtapose a discourse on compassion as an emotional and moral attitude, and a discourse about legal rights, essentially the right not to suffer unnecessary pain at the hands of humans (according to formulae that bear the imprint of British utilitarianism). In these judgments, various religious founding figures such as the Buddha, Mahavira, etc., are paid due tribute, perhaps not so much in reference to their religion, but rather as historical icons—on the same footing as Mahatma Gandhi—of an idealized intrinsic Indian compassion. View Full-Text
Keywords: India; animal welfare; compassion; Buddhism; court cases India; animal welfare; compassion; Buddhism; court cases
MDPI and ACS Style

Tarabout, G. Compassion for Living Creatures in Indian Law Courts. Religions 2019, 10, 383.

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