Sunday, 20 September 2015

Supreme Court of India accepts appeal regarding stray dogs

NEW DELHI (September 18, 2015): The Supreme Court of India today accepted an appeal filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, against a Kerala High Court order regarding stray dogs. The appeal will now be heard on 18 November 2015, for final hearing, together with other similar cases. The Supreme Court in 2009 accepted appeals against other such orders from Karnataka, Shimla and Bombay High Courts and had stayed the culling of dogs. The court today also accepted the intervention filed by Ms.Gauri Maulekhi, Coopted Member of the Board.

Earlier this week, Ms.Gauri Maulekhi met with the Chief Minister of Kerala and he assured her that the Government was committed to the Animal Birth Control programme, and the local self Government Department with the help of the Department of Animal Husbandry would implement intensive sterilization and vaccination program in 50 locations across the state. The AWBI will provide assistance for training of Veterinary Doctors, Para-Vets and dog handlers /catchers in Kerala as requested by the State government.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India protects all forms of life, including animal life. In addition, Article 51A(g) imposes on all citizens a fundamental duty to have compassion for living creatures. The Supreme Court of India has interpreted Articles 21 and 51A(g) to mean that animals have a right to lead a life with intrinsic worth, dignity and security.

The Central Government has enacted a law specifically with regard to animals, namely, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Under the Act, the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 (‘ABC Rules’) have been framed and prescribe comprehensive rules relating to stray dogs, amongst others. Under the ABC Rules, stray dogs are to be sterilised, vaccinated and subsequently released into the same area, from where they were captured. The Rules also provide that dogs who are sick are to be treated, prior to their sterilisation and vaccination.

Mass vaccinations, an essential part of the programme, have shown to substantially reduce the spread of rabies in dogs, and thus to humans, and has in fact been recognized as the most effective way to control rabies by the World Health Organisation.

The Constitution of India gives precedence to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001 over State and local laws, such as the Kerala State Municipality Act, 1994. In addition, Rule 13 of the ABC Rules provides that in case of any conflict between the Rules and local laws, the provision that is less irksome to the animal shall prevail.

No comments:

Post a Comment