“We restrain such organizations to impart training to the children or to distribute subsidized airguns for people to kill stray dogs or to publically propagate that there is war against the stray dogs or strangulate the stray dogs or for that matter offer prizes or incentives to those who kill the stray dogs”: A BENCH OF JUSTICE DIPAK MISRA AND JUSTICE AMITAVA ROY SAID IN THE 11-PAGE ORDER
The Supreme Court today lashed out against vigilante groups in Kerala indulging in culling of dogs and also encouraging the illegal act and asked the state government to take strict action against them including lodging of criminal cases.
A bench of justice Dipak Misra and justice Amitava Roy also banned imparting of training to the children or distribution of subsidized airguns for people to kill stray dogs or to publically propagate that there is war against the stray dogs.
Directing the panel appointed by the court headed by Justice Sri Jagan to look into the activities of the vigilante groups, the bench gave the state government liberty to file criminal cases against rule violators if the situation warranted. The court also made it categorically clear that the power to kill dangerous dogs only lied with the government and nobody else.
Significantly the bench has summoned to the court social worker Jose Maveli, the head of one such group in Kerala for continuing to encourage people to kill the strays. He has been asked to be personally present in the court on March 1, the next date of hearing.
Led by Jose Maveli, stray dogs were allegedly culled at various parts of the state. This apart, the alumni association of Pala St Thomas college in October announced rewards to civic authorities who would kill the maximum number of stray dogs. The court has taken serious view of the alumni’s action also.
“NO TRAINING, NO AIR GUNS”
“In view of the aforesaid submission of the learned counsel for the State, we restrain such organizations to impart training to the children or to distribute subsidized airguns for people to kill stray dogs or to publically propagate that there is war against the stray dogs or strangulate the stray dogs or for that matter offer prizes or incentives to those who kill the stray dogs. Needless to say, our directions are not exhaustive but illustrative” said the bench.
“In the course of hearing, we have been apprised that despite the orders passed by this Court, Jose Maveli has been constantly violating the orders. There are newspaper items to show that he has publicized the stray dog killing, though Mr. Biju, learned counsel appearing for Jose Maveli submits that he has not done any such acts. Be that as it may, he shall remain personally present in Court on the next date of hearing”, the bench added.
‘STATE HAS POWER”
“This Court has already appointed a Committee which is headed by Mr. Justice Sri Jagan, former Judge of the High Court of Kerala. The said Committee, namely, “Justice Sri Jagan Committee” shall enquire into the said aspect. Needless to say, the State will be under obligation to file criminal cases, if the situation so warrants. The report of the enquiry shall be submitted before us through the counsel of the Committee, Mr. Gaurav Agarwal so that proper orders can be passed. In the meantime, we are also obliged to note the submissions made by Mr. Biju, learned counsel appearing for an intervener and the respondent no.5 appearing in person that stray dogs have attacked the women and children as a result of which the human life is in danger. In the earlier orders, we have already directed the State of Kerala and other authorities that they can go for culling as per the provisions of the relevant Act and Rules”, said the court.
Kerala’s stray canine menace came into sharp focus in the Supreme Court on October 20 with the bench expressing surprise at increasing complaints regarding the extent of the dog bite menace in the “god’s own country”.
"Why does Kerala have such a peculiar dog bite menace. I have been to several states. In Orissa the dog bite incidents are rare. In Assam it is rare. Why is this dogbite problem so concentrated in Kerala? Why does Kerala have such a peculiar dogbite menace. We need to know," Justice Dipak Misra heading the bench had asked.
The sharp remarks came after the bench perused a 12-page report filed by a committee appointed by it headed by former Kerala High Court judge Justice S Siri Jagan which warned that the "excessive" stray canine population will continue to pose "very serious threat" to public safety unless brought down to "manageable level".
Read the order here.