Press Trust of India

Stray dog menace- Not shying away from dealing with issue: SC

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New Delhi: Dealing with pleas including those on culling stray dogs, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday it was not shying away from handling issues related to orders passed by various civic bodies regarding untamed canines, especially in Kerala and Mumbai, but will not allow the scope of the matter under consideration to be expanded.

The apex court is considering a batch of petitions, including those relating to the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 and the Kerala Municipality Act, 1994.

While one of the pleas has raised the issue of culling of stray dogs in Kerala, some other petitions pertain to the Bombay High Court’s 2022 observation about those interested in their protection and welfare, including feeding them, putting them up in dog shelter homes and bearing expenses for their maintenance.

During the hearing on Wednesday, the top court observed that the parties before it should go through the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2023 as many of the issues raised before it may get resolved by a simple perusal.

“Let us also clarify one thing. We are not shying away from dealing with the issue but we will not allow the scope to be expanded,” a bench of justices J K Maheshwari and Sanjay Karol said.

When one of the lawyers said the bench may give them some time to go through the 2023 rules before they get back to the court, the bench said,” Kindly see, that is the crux of the matter.”

Another lawyer referred to a recent advisory issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) for implementation of the 2023 rules and said, “If we all go through it, I can say 90 per cent problem will be resolved.”

“… after going through these 2023 rules, if maximum problems are being resolved, then we can say in some limited words that looking into the 2023 rules, the authorities may examine the issues and deal with the problems according to law.

“And if any cause arises even thereafter, the parties are at liberty to go and take recourse before the high courts…,” the apex court said and posted the matter for further hearing on May 8.

While hearing the pleas in September last year, the apex court had refused to give any interim direction in the matter and said it would take a call after going through the relevant statutes, rules and their implementation.

During the previous hearings, the apex court had asked the AWBI to file an affidavit enclosing data on incidents of dog bites during the last few years in different states and prominent cities.

The top court had said a balance has to be maintained between the safety of people and animal rights.

Some NGOs and individual petitioners have moved the apex court against the decisions of some high courts, including the high courts of Bombay and Kerala, to allow municipal authorities to deal with the menace of stray dogs as per the rules.


Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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