Q. What kind of birds is it legal to keep?
A. No Indian birds can be legally kept under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Only exotic species can be kept and that too if the seller/owner establishes that they have come from outside the country. In order to prove that, the seller must have an import licence and permission from the CITES Bureau.
CITES or the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora came into effect in order to protect rare and endangered species of wild fauna and flora against over-exploitation. The convention ensures that international trade does not pose a threat to the survival of species in the wild.
The Convention also provides for strict regulation on the export of those species threatened by trade.
Even the keeping of a permissible bird must be in conformity with the provisions of section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act which stipulates that any person, who keeps and confines in any cage which does not measure sufficiently to permit the bird a reasonable opportunity of movement or does not provide the bird sufficient food, drink and shelter, shall be guilty of treating that bird cruelly. The failure to comply with these provisions of section 11 of PCA is a punishable offence and the offender would be liable to be arrested and punished. Hence the sane and safe course of action is to let birds go free.