Observing that nobody should stop feeding stray dogs as canines may become aggressive, the Supreme Court, in an interim order on Wednesday, stayed certain observations of the Bombay High Court in which it was said that who are interested in feeding stray dogs to “formally adopt” them and directed that no nuisance must be created by people while feeding them.
A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and JK Maheshwari sought a response from Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and Animal Welfare Board on a plea against the Bombay High Court order over guidelines on stray dog feedings.
The court stayed the certain observation of the Bombay High Court related to persons interested in feeding dogs having to adopt them till the next date of hearing.
The top court while hearing the matter passed various remarks including one that whether street dogs have any residence to live in.
The court said, “where do street dogs live and do the canine have any residences to live in?” Supreme Court further expressed concern about keeping the street dogs in captivity and said that they are not meant to be kept in captivity.
The court also said that one cannot insist that people who feed dogs must adopt them.
In an interim order, the court directed the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to ensure and take steps for the general public to feed the street dogs at the appropriate locations identified and demarcated by them.
The court also asked the general public to ensure that no public nuisance is caused by feeding stray dogs.
The court asked the concerned municipal corporation to note down details and names if any feeders who are creating public nuisance but not to take any coercive step against them till the next date of hearing.
The court said that proceedings before Bombay HC will continue and also clarified that the concerned corporation to deal with the issue of the nuisance caused by the street dogs in accordance with the law.
The bench noted that there may be other consequences if street dogs are not treated well and the court needs to balance both sides.
During the hearing, the Animal Welfare Board counsel said that if the stray dogs did not get food, they may turn aggressive.
The court was hearing a plea against the Bombay High Court over guidelines regarding the feeding of stray dogs. The petitioner has challenged the Bombay High Court order which issued a slew of directions and directed the civic officials and the police to take “stern action” against anyone obstructing them from acting against the menace of stray dogs.
The petition has been filed through advocate-on-record Surbhi Kapoor. The Petitioners submitted that the directions issued by the High Court are inconsistent with the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1961.
The High Court has passed a blanket direction to the concerned authorities under Section 44 of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951 to detain all stray community dogs wandering in the public streets.
“As far as the direction, in respect of Section 44 of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951 are concerned, it is respectfully submitted that the aforesaid provision contemplates issuance of a public notice proclaiming that any stray dog found wandering in the street or in any public place maybe destroyed,” read the petition.
“The provision does not contemplate detention of dogs. Subclause (3) of Section 44 provides that a dog that has been detained may be destroyed or sold. A comprehensive reading of Section 44 makes it abundantly clear that the scheme of the said provision is to detain the dogs found to be wandering in the streets or in any public place in contravention of any public notice issued by the competent authority, and either destroy or sell them in accordance with law,” the petition said.
In October, the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench ordered those interested in feeding stray dogs to “formally adopt” them while issuing a slew of directions regarding the feeding of stray dogs.
The High Court has issued a slew of directions and directed the civic officials and the police to take “stern action” against anyone obstructing them from acting against the menace of stray dogs.
The court has ordered people interested in feeding strays to first formally adopt them and only feed them inside their homes.
The High Court has directed no citizen and no resident of Nagpur and areas surrounding it shall feed or make any attempt to feed the stray dogs in public places, gardens etc, and directed the Municipal Commissioner of Nagpur to ensure that no such feeding at any place except own homes of such persons shall be undertaken.
The court also directed the Commissioner, Nagpur Municipal Corporation to ensure that, no feeding of street dogs takes place at any place except at the own place of the dog feeder or in the dog shelter homes or any other authorised place and to impose an appropriate penalty for any breach of these directions.