STRAY ORDER: DOGS GET THEIR DAY Lawyers Defend Their Right To Live


SC restrains BMC from killing strays TIMES NEWS NETWORK New Delhi/Mumbai: The underdogs were literally the heroes of the day, as top lawyers—including constitutional experts Fali S Nariman and T R Andhyarujina, with Maharashtra solicitor general G E Vahanvati supporting them from the sidelines—pleaded eloquently against the culling of strays in the Supreme Court on Friday. When the Bombay high court’s order to cull ‘nuisance’ dogs was stayed, everyone let out a sigh of relief. Animal rights activist and lawyer Raj Panjwani said the street dog population of Mumbai had already been reduced to 75,000 from six lakh over the last few years through drives carried out under the law, and that there was no need to put the animals to sleep. The common belief among activists is that sterilisation is the best solution to the problem. Anuradha Sawhney of PETA-India said, “Now, the BMC will have no choice but to do what it should have been doing from the start—providing support and infrastructure to all NGOs that are involved in the sterilisation programme.’’ BMC commissioner Jairaj Phatak said he had still to receive a copy of the order. “I have yet to see the SC order, but as it is, we had kept our plans on hold in the wake of the pending appeals,’’ he said. STRAY ORDER: DOGS GET THEIR DAY Supreme Court Stays Order On Culling ‘Nuisance’ Strays As Lawyers Defend Their Right To Live New Delhi: Mumbai’s street dogs can owe their lives to a string of noted lawyers. The latter won the day for the strays on Friday in the Supreme Court by securing a stay on the Bombay High Court’s virtual death warrant against them. Standing in their defence and making a strong plea—both legally and on humanitarian grounds—were noted constitutional experts Fali S Nariman and T R Andhyarujina, who appeared for different NGOs, and seen supporting them was Solicitor General G E Vahanvati, representing the Maharashtra government. But it took the lawyers some time to convince a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam that the dogs deserved a better deal, statutorily. They said the high court erred by ordering the extermination of strays, and that too, by conferring the municipal commissioner such discretionary powers, which were the statute—Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Animal activist lawyer Raj Panjwani said the street dog population of Mumbai had been reduced to 75,000 from six lakh in the last few years through drives carried out under the law, and that there was no need to put the animals to death. Nariman began the argument saying one may not be a dog lover, but it did not make sense to order the extermination of stray dogs. “Such discretionary powers have been conferred on the commissioner that he could sign the death warrant of a street dog on a single complaint from a resident about its barking in the night,’’ he said. Both Vahanvati and Andhyarujina said the HC order was in conflict with the all-India law, which provided a framework for killing strays when they were rabid, violent or terminally ill. The bench was initially reluctant to grant relief saying that when a dog goes mad or starts biting people, it required urgent action. But the lawyers and activists standing stoutly behind the cause of Mumbai’s strays had little to fear as the bench relented and stayed the HC order.

 
Published in Constitutional Law
Source : Times of India, http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOI/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIM&login=default&AW=1232800776656
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