Testing of cosmetics and its ingredients on animals was today banned in the country by a top regulatory body to stop cruelty on them.
The decision in line with European Union's stand was taken at a meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards' Cosmetics Sectional Committee here chaired by Drug Controller General of India G N Singh.
"Keeping in view the cruelty towards animals involved, the testing of cosmetics on animals will now not be allowed in the country," Singh told PTI after the meeting.
He said any such cosmetic products which carry out animal testing will face action as per provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the Animal Cruelty Act.
Violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act by any person or corporate manager or owner is liable for punishment for a term which may extend to 3-10 years and shall also be liable to fine which could be Rs.500 to Rs.10,000 or with both.
Singh is chairman of the Cosmetics Sectional Committee of BIS which firmed up fresh standards for cosmetics in its meeting today.
He said the action follows representation and appeals from various quarters including that from the National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and campaigner for animal rights Menaka Gandhi, who is also a BJP MP.
The announcement came in the wake of European Union banning testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals, which includes a ban on sales of animal-tested cosmetics, regardless of where those tests were conducted.
Israel has also banned the testing of household products and their ingredients on animals as well as the sale of such products if they have been tested on animals.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, had also been pressing upon the government and had been campaigning for an end to the testing of household products and their ingredients on animals in the country.
Welcoming the ban, PETA India's science policy adviser Chaitanya Koduri, said, "DCGI's announcement that testing cosmetics and their ingredients on animals will never be allowed in India again is a victory for animals and science.
Animal tests are cruel and unreliable. Non-animal methods of testing are modern, humane and human-relevant."
Koduri, who is also a part of the BIS Cosmetics Sectional Committee, said, "This compliance with international standards will now also improve trade avenues for the country and save animals' lives. Now PETA urges the government to bring in a similar ban on the testing of household products like cleaners on animals in India."
More than 1,200 companies around the world have banned all animal tests in favour of effective, modern non-animal tests, but many still choose to subject animals to painful tests.
PETA claimed that because of the vast physiological differences between humans and the animals used in these tests, the results are often misleading.