22 Jan 2022 5:02 AM GMT
The Madras High Court has enlarged the scope of a public interest litigation pertaining to menace of stray dogs inside IIT Madras and has called for suggestions from various stakeholders for addressing the issues related to menace created by stray animals and pets in public places.The bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice P.D Audikesavalu urged the state...
The Madras High Court has enlarged the scope of a public interest litigation pertaining to menace of stray dogs inside IIT Madras and has called for suggestions from various stakeholders for addressing the issues related to menace created by stray animals and pets in public places.
The bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice P.D Audikesavalu urged the state government and Corporation to take inspiration from foreign countries that have rules for regulating actions of pet owners.
The court has asked Senior Counsel Satish Parasaran to take lead in the matter, assist the court and consolidate completely codified suggestions from all stakeholders including other counsels in the case, NGOs, animal rights defenders etc. The court expressed hope that the state of Tamil Nadu will be the pioneer in framing rules for the treatment of pet animals in the country.
"We should take this litigation further for the betterment of stray dogs and pet animals as well", the court noted.
Further, in pursuance of its previous order, the Greater Chennai Municipal Corporation (GCC) informed the bench that the 22 dogs remaining in IIT-Madras Enclosures were rescued, medically diagnosed and handed over to Non-Governmental Organisations.
While taking note of the progress made by GCC in taking accountability for the dogs inside the enclosure, the Court has decided to expand the scope of the PIL by the inclusion of guidelines for monitoring and treating pet animals within the ambit of directions that the court will issue.
On the last occasion, the court had expressed its inclination to consolidate comprehensive guidelines about the medical treatment, immunization, sterilization, relocation etc of stray dogs applicable across the state of Tamil Nadu, starting with Chennai. The court intended to formulate those guidelines by inviting proposals from all lawyers.
Today, the counsel appearing for Greater Chennai Corporation, Advocate Karthika Ashok, submitted that there were some difficulties in releasing dogs from the enclosure in appropriate areas without objections from the residents, and therefore, they were handed over to NGOs for the time being.
The court then remarked that the next issue to be dealt with would be ascertaining the reason behind IIT-Madras not approaching Greater Chennai Corporation about the stray dogs in the Campus. Afterwards, the court will have to examine if the allegations about the poor treatment of dogs in the campus enclosures were true or not.
At this juncture, Advocate Chitra Sampath, appearing for IIT-Madras argued that there were many inspections conducted in the last three months and none of those inspections made an allegation against IIT-Madras about the treatment of stray dogs in enclosures.
"You should have informed Greater Chennai Corporation. You didn't have the authority to keep them in enclosures. Their condition in the enclosures is another aspect that will be looked into later", the bench orally remarked.
The counsel for IIT then iterated that feral dogs were taken care of by IIT since they were posing a threat to the wildlife inside the campus including blackbucks. According to the counsel, there was a permanent committee comprising of Corporation officials and wildlife officers giving suggestions as to how the feral dogs must be dealt with. IIT-M placed them in dog enclosures after taking those suggestions into account, she added.
As per the IIT-M counsel's request, the court posted the matter for 9th February, affording her enough time to compile all the affidavits and other documents for the convemience of the court.
On 9th December, Madras High Court had come down heavily on the lukewarm approach of Greater Chennai Corporation in dealing with stray dogs.
"This is a total failure of the Municipal Corporation. Though, this is not a problem of Chennai alone. We want to proceed with this litigation in such a manner that compiled guidelines from proposals made by stakeholders can be put to use for the treatment of stray dogs (medical treatment, immunization, sterilization, relocation etc.). We invite suggestions from all lawyers on how the dogs must be treated within the framework of Rules (Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001). Suggestions can be consolidated from all quarters. Afterwards, we can pass an appropriate order regarding the same. We believe that the order of this court will have some sanctity", the court orally remarked before giving directions to GCC.
The specific direction given to Greater Chennai Corporation was to release the 22 dogs remaining in IIT-Madras Enclosures and hand them over to the Chennai Municipal Corporation.
On 7th October the court had noted the contradictory stands taken by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and Animal Husbandry Department of Tamil Nadu. The Additional Government Pleader had then stated that 57 dogs had died recently as per their inspection report whereas Advocate S.R Sundaram appearing for the Animal Welfare Board submitted that IIT-Madras hasn't committed any infringements or violations as per their report.
The court was also critical about other NGOs and animal activists impleading in the current public interest litigation where the petitioner has adequately espoused for the cause of dogs concerned.
"We won't take publicity impleadments in PILs for the same cause", the court had noted then.
Before that, on 17th September, the petitioner had pointed out that 49 dogs have died till then and had referred to one of the recommendations following the Joint Committee's( comprising of members from the State Animal Husbandry Department, Animal Welfare Board and Municipal Corporation) Inspection Report, which suggested that post-mortems of dead dogs should be conducted.
Back then, IIT Madras authorities submitted before the Court that every dog on its campus is micro-chipped and three separate enclosures have been provided since some of the dogs are aggressive and impede movement within the campus and sometimes tend to threaten students.
Case Title: People For Cattle In India v. The Chairman & Another
Case No: WP/2287/2021 (PIL)