Not shying away from dealing with stray dogs issue but will not allow scope to be expanded, says SC


PTI, Apr 24, 2024, 8:09 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it was not shying away from dealing with the issue relating to orders passed by various civic bodies regarding stray dogs, especially in Kerala and Mumbai, but it will not allow the scope of the matter under consideration to be expanded.

The apex court observed that the parties should go through the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2023, as many of the issues raised before it may get resolved.

“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.

The bench observed that the 2023 rules are now in place and should be studied.

One of the lawyers said the bench may give them some time to go through the 2023 rules and they will get back to the court.

“Kindly see, that is the crux of the matter”, the bench said.

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

“You please kindly go through 2023 rules and the advisory”, the bench said.

“… 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…”, it said and posted the matter for further hearing on May 8.

While hearing the pleas in September last year, the apex court had observed that it would not want to give any interim direction in the matter and that it would take a call after going through the relevant statutes, rules, their implementation and the issues raised before it.

One of the advocates had said that separate high courts have taken different views on the issue.

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

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 Bombay High Court and Kerala High Court, to allow municipal authorities to deal with the menace of stray dogs as per the rules.

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