The government, buoyed by a favourable verdict from the High Court, had been claiming that everything was done as per the rules and regulations of the university
The Supreme Court on Thursday posted for hearing on October 18, a batch of 30 petition – many from Kerala including one from a panchayat from Kannur district – seeking steps to curb and control the menace of stray dogs bites and fatal attacks, as court indicated that it intends to issue guidelines to resolve the human and animal conflict.
Indicating that it would issue guidelines to resolve the human-animal conflict, a bench of Justice J.K. Maheshwari and Justice K.V. Viswanathan said that two nodal counsel – one each from both the sides – would prepare a common compilation that would be relied upon by the arguing senior advocates from both the sides in the course of the hearing that would be held on a day-to-day basis.
While one set of petitioners are favouring the elimination of stray dogs, the other side wants the issue to be addressed as per the provision of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2023.
Besides the framing of the guidelines, other core issues that would be adjudicated is whether State laws favouring stern approach towards the stray dogs should prevail or the Central statute – the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2023.
The bench will also look into the 2014 Bombay High Court judgment that had ruled against the then Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2001 and 2015 Kerala High Court. Judgment which had sought to strike a balance on the issue.
While the majority view in Bombay High Court judgment had ruled against ABC 2001, a minority judgment had ruled in its favour.
The 2015 Kerala High Court judgment was by Justice Ashok Bhushan, who later became a judge of the Supreme Court. At present he is Chairperson, National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.
The 2001 Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, have now been superseded by 2023 Rules that require stray dogs to be caught, vaccinated, neutered, and released back. This approach aims to control the dog population without cruelty.
As the matter was called out for hearing, Justice Maheshwari noted that in a number of petitions, the pleading wer3e not complete.
The Supreme Court on November 17, 2016, had said that impression should not be created that human life has lesser value than that of a dog, and at the same time stressed that stray dogs can be dealt with only in accordance with the Animal Birth Control Rules. Noting that even dogs are created by the divinity, the court on November 17, 2016 had restrained the vigilante groups in Kerala from propagating and imparting training for killing of dogs.
On November 18, 2015, th3e top court had favoured striking a balance between the empathy for the stray dogs and safety of human beings.
Permitting the municipal bodies to kill the irretrievably ill and wounded stray dogs suffering from rabies in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Animal Birth Control Rules 2001m the top court had said, “we are disposed to think … that a balance between compassion to dogs and the lives of human being, which is appositely called a glorious gift of nature, may harmoniously co-exist” .