High courts can hear stray dog ​​issue, Supreme Court clarifies; Look up dog bite statistics for the past 7 years

India’s Supreme Court clarified on Wednesday that nothing prevents the High Courts from hearing cases relating to the issue of stray dogs in the country.

A bench of Judges Sanjiv Khanna and JK Maheshwari clarified that an earlier Supreme Court order of November 18, 2015 did not provide for a stay of all proceedings in the High Courts, in the stray dog ​​cases. Highlighting this, the court said:

“The order of this court dated 18.11.2015, last paragraph, requires clarification. We do not believe that the intention of this court in said order is that all writ petitions and proceedings in the high courts be suspended and that no effective order can be adopted by the High Courts in cases relating to stray dogs…..Therefore, for the avoidance of doubt, we specify that the order of 18.11.2015 does not prohibit or prohibit authorities, individuals, including associations and companies, to apply to the High Jurisdictional Courts.”

The Court further pointed out that there would be individual cases relating to the applicability and application of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rules 1960, the Animal (Dog) Birth Control Rules as well as state laws that may require detailed hearing of parties and location-specific orders.

In passing the order, the Supreme Court reiterated that the High Courts should bear in mind previous orders and precedents set by the Supreme Court.

These guidelines were adopted in a batch of appeals passed by the Animal Welfare Council of India challenging orders passed by various high courts in relation to stray dog ​​issues.

During the hearing, it was reported on behalf of a residential complex in Navy Mumbai that 10 to 15 cases of dog bites have occurred in the past year at its premises.

Senior Counsel CU Singh, objecting, said dog feeding was only allowed in designated areas and fines were imposed on those who broke the rule. He asked for the case to be heard by the High Court and not the High Court.

Senior Advocate Krishnan VenugopalRepresentative Gauri Maulekhi, trustee of People for Animal Welfare and Ahinsa Trust, argued that proceedings in the Bombay High Court had come to a halt in light of the Supreme Court’s consideration of the matter.

The High Court observed that going to the High Court is the appropriate remedy as issues specific to the area will need to be considered,

Accordingly, the court ordered that the related writ petition as well as the contempt petition in the Bombay High Court be decided as a matter of law.

“We don’t want to deal with specific individual cases. We will only issue general guidelines. But cases where feeding should be allowed, if there is a problem in that particular complex. These are specific areas, occasions specific”.

Furthermore, the bench added,

“You may have real concern. If I were you, if my children went out to play, I would be scared. I wouldn’t like to go to a resort like this where there are reports of dog bites. We will allow you to go to the High Court. If an unfavorable order is passed, you can come here.”

The Court, however, clarified that it will rule on the larger legal issue of the reluctance between state and central stray dog ​​control rules.

Kerala High Court to continue hearing in Re Bruno, SC case

During the hearing, Senior Advocate V Chitambaresh, representing an animal rights group, briefed the suo motu case bench in the Kerala High Court – In the Re Bruno case and how a special bench was constituted to hear individual cases relating to the violence against dogs as well as dog bite cases. With this in mind, the request was that the High Court be allowed to continue hearing the case.

Lawyer VK Biju opposed this request.

“These arguments will not convince us that HC should not proceed with the case,” the court said in response and ordered the case to be taken to the High Court.

“Proceedings in the Kerala High Court at Re Bruno will continue in accordance with the laws. Waiting for these SLPs and appeals would not stand in the way of the said proceedings. Needless to say, orders made by this court would apply” , read the court order.

The Court also noted that the problem in Kerala was quite “particular”.

“In Kerala, the problem seems to be quite particular. We are all dog lovers, but if there is a problem, it must be solved.”

The Animal Welfare Council will give the number of dog bite cases, SC

The Court further ordered the Animal Welfare Board (Board) to file an affidavit on dog bite statistics over the past 7 years in different states and major cities and state the steps taken to curb them.

He further asked the Council to indicate whether it wished the Supreme Court to establish certain guidelines on the matter. The Council has also been asked to indicate whether the local authorities have complied with and implemented the orders dated November 18, 2015 and March 9, 2016.

The bench also granted the parties liberty to file a brief summary with respect to the application of the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1960 and applicable rules.

The bench also allowed the parties to file objections to the report submitted by Judge Sir Jagan’s commission into the threat of stray dogs in Kerala. The committee’s report said the stray dog ​​population can only be reduced by ABC measures and researched alternative methods.

The bench was hearing a batch of appeals filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India and other parties against a 2015 Kerala High Court judgment that authorized the capture and destruction of stray dogs.

Wrongdoers will be punished, SC

As the hearing drew to a close, lead attorney Venugopal pointed to unchecked garbage that was overlooked by city agencies as a major reason for the proliferation of dogs and mice and the like. “If they were neutered, this problem wouldn’t have happened,” the bench was told.

Senior Attorney Percival Billimoria stressed that people who engage in cruelty to animals should be punished. The bench had no contrary opinion.

“Anyone dealing with animal cruelty should be dealt with according to the law. We haven’t said otherwise…” the bench said orally.

The cases were adjourned to February 2023.

Case title: Animal Welfare Council of India Against People for the Elimination of Stray Disorders and Others. – CA no. 5988/2019