16 Nov 2022 12:15 PM GMT
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Gurugram on Tuesday directed the Municipal Corporation to require that one family will keep only one dog. It further banned petting of 11 "foreign breeds" and asked the Corporation to cancel the registration granted in respect of any such banned dogs and take them into its custody.While issuing general directions in a dog-bite...
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Gurugram on Tuesday directed the Municipal Corporation to require that one family will keep only one dog. It further banned petting of 11 "foreign breeds" and asked the Corporation to cancel the registration granted in respect of any such banned dogs and take them into its custody.
While issuing general directions in a dog-bite complaint filed by a local, the Commission ordered:
The Commission further directed the municipal body to warn the residents that any violation of the above said directions will result in taking over the custody of their dog along with imposition of Rs. 20,000 fine, extendable upto Rs. 2 lakhs.
The complaint was filed by Munni, claiming that she was bitten by a wild and cruel dog in the locality, which was allegedly unleashed by the owner of the dog (opposite party no. 1). The bite resulted in multiple deep wounds, including on her head. Accordingly, she claimed monetary assistance to the tune of Rs. 10 lakh.
The owner of the dog argued that since the complainant did not qualify to be a 'consumer' within the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (Act), the complaint is not maintainable and that the Forum has no jurisdiction to entertain the matter. The Municipal Corporation, the second opposite party, also took the same plea.
The Forum took note of the fact that the dog in question (of the 'Pit bull' breed, which was later on ascertained to be a 'Dogo Argentino') did not even belong to the opposite party at the time of the incident and that it was being kept by the supposed-owner without a license; a license was obtained only after the incident.
The Forum, in connection with the locus standi of the complainant, held that since the complainant had not 'purchased any goods or services' from opposite party no. 1, the complaint against him was not maintainable. However, the Commission held that the Municipal Corporation is estopped from raising jurisdictional issue because,
"All the persons who are residing within the municipal limits of Municipal Corporation, Gurugram are expressly or impliedly are the consumers of the Municipal Corporation, Gurugram because they are admittedly paying the Municipal taxes, State and Central Government taxes, fees and levies etc. to the Municipal Corporation, Gurugram."
Coming to the issue of petting foreign breed dogs, the Commission took notice of a Central Govt notification of 2016 which restricts import of commercial dogs, barring certain instances. It also relied on Public Safety and Suppression of Nuisances under the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, which contemplates 'registration' of a dog; Sections 309, 310 and 311 of the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 to establish the various duties of a dog owner and the powers of the Commissioner as contemplated by the legislation.
Accordingly, the Forum ordered that there shall be a complete ban, with immediate effect, on following pet dogs of foreign breeds: American Pit-bull terriers, Dogo Argentino, Rottweiler, Neapolitan Mastiff, Boerboel, Presa Canario, Wolf dog, Bandog, American Bulldog, Fila Brasileiro and Cane Corso.
So far as the instant case is concerned, the Forum directed the Corporation to take the custody of the Dogo Argentino dog in question and immediately cancel the license issued to the opposite party no. 1. The Forum also ordered the Corporation to pay a sum of Rs. 2 lakh as interim relief to the complainant, which could be recovered by the Corporation from the other opposite party.
"Though, to some people, this interim relief amount of Rs.2 lakh as compensation may seem exorbitant but if such people are asked to get bitten by a ferocious dog like Dogo Argentino on the rear part of their head with the offer of Rs.2 lakh as compensation, then, needless to say, that their answer would be obvious," it said.
The Forum has also directed the Corporation to take all stray dogs into custody with immediate effect and keep them in dog ponds in vaccinated and sterilised condition. The Forum finally directed the Corporation to frame rules in connection with all its directions within a period of three months, up until which, the interim orders and directions issued by the Forum shall remain in force.
Case Title: Munni v. Neetu Chhikara and Another
Case No: CC No. 7741 of 2022
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