In what will gladden the hearts of animal lovers, a disciplinary committee constituted by the MGR University in Tamil Nadu has slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh each on the two medical students, Gautam Sudarshan and Ashish Pal, who were involved in throwing of a dog (later named Bhadra) from the terrace of a building. The duo has been asked to pay this fine to the Animal Welfare Board of India, a body whose members are appointed by the Union ministry of Environment and Forests. 

 

In the 34-second video clip which went viral in the first week of July, Gautam can be seen holding a six-month-old Bhadra and then flinging it from the building. The dog yelps when it lands on the ground with a thud. The entire sequence was shot by Ashish Pal.

 

 

Bhadra suffered two fractures in her right hind leg and spine. Though she has recovered significantly, she still walks with a limp. She has now been adopted by a family in Chennai.

 

 

After this incident came to light, there was a public outcry throughout the country. Both medicos are students of Madha Medical college in Chennai which is affiliated to the MGR University. The college decided to suspend the medicos and instituted a three-member committee to probe into the incident. The animal rights activists who were hoping that the two will be sent behind bars were disappointed when they were granted bail almost immediately.

 

But earlier this month, Gautam and Ashish filed a case against the college for suspending them. The Madras High court ordered the University to institute a disciplinary committee and take appropriate action. The University has now imposed Rs 4 lakh as fine.

 

Animal rights activists, however, are not happy with the order to pay the fine amount to the Animal Welfare Board. ``The Board is a government body. I am writing to the University to instead distribute that fine amount among six organisations that work for animal welfare in Chennai,'' says Antony Rubin, animal rights activist who had filed the FIR against the duo, based on the whatsapp footage that went viral.

 

Antony Rubin has filed another case against the duo, which will come up for hearing next week. It asks for a psychiatric assessment of the two medicos, to know whether they are good enough to work as doctors and treat human beings. The petition also asks for the duo to be ordered to do community service with a charity organisation apart from paying for the medical expenditure of Bhadra, which runs into a few hundred rupees.

 

 

Even as this landmark decision has been taken, which of course, is likely to be challenged in court, the law ministry is also reportedly working on increasing the Rs 50 penalty for torturing animals, imposed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. However, sources in the government say the proposal is to increase it to Rs 100.

 

Animal rights activists who have been running the #NoMore50 campaign to impose a reasonable fine, say this meagre increase is a shame. Those drafting the amendment however, argue that the fine cannot be increased by several times in one go.