To treat stray dogs with cruelty is unacceptable in civil society: Bombay HC | Mumbai News

MUMBAI: “To hate stray dogs and treat them with cruelty can never be an acceptable approach from persons of civil society, as such cruelty would be against the Constitutional ethos and statutory provisions,” said Bombay high court bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and R N Laddha on Monday to managing committee and other members of a cooperative housing society in suburban Mumbai.
On Tuesday the HC directed the society in Mumbai and its members to “cooperate” and amicably find a suitable feeding spot for 18 territorial stray dogs, also roping in Abodh Aras, the voluntary body of the Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD) to assist in finding the right nook.


“Have you taken a round of the HC? Have you seen the number of cats? They have territorial affinity. They are each in their own spot, some on the third floor, some in the corridor, some even in chambers or the courtroom,” said Justice Kulkarni at the hearing on Tuesday.
“See the 2014 Supreme Court judgment where it is beautifully observed that every species has an inherent right to live and a right to protection under Article 21 (Protection of Life and Personal Liberty) of the Constitution,” said HC. “You have nurtured the dogs. They are now a part of your housing society,” the bench added.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by animal lover, Paromita Puthran, whose grievance was that the management of the RNA Royale Park Cooperative Housing Society at Kandivli (west) where she resides, was “not permitting” her to feed and care for the stray dogs in the area, and nor were they designating an area on the 15 acre plot as a spot to feed the strays, compelling her to feed them at the Society gate making the animals “vulnerable to road accidents.”
On Tuesday, her counsel Gauraj Shah said ‘bouncers’ hired by the society through a November 2022 resolution to restrain the feeders were still around. The housing society’s lawyer Vibha Mishra said it shall no more employ any bouncers. The HC said the statement is accepted.
Advocate Nishad Nevgi for Puthran had on Monday informed the HC of the new rules called the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules of 2023, framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as mentioned in a March 20 ruling of a bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale in another dispute between residents and the residential complex management at Navi Mumbai that held the Seawoods Estate Limited would be required to provide feeding spots for strays under these rules. The rules specifically provide for feeding of ‘community animals’ and require the Residents Association to arrange for such feeding spots and provide care to street animals, observed the HC.
If the society continues to take coercive steps… it would not only be contrary to law but also amount to an offence, said the HC. “It is for the petitioner and the managing committee of the society to sit across and resolve the issue,” the HC said. Justice Kulkarni added, “If you go for a walk on Marine Drive. You find so many strays. Lots of abandoned dogs. Ultimately we have to live with this. We have to take care of animals. That is what the rules and the act says.”
On Tuesday after the Society lawyer sought time to file its reply, saying the secretary was out of town, the HC adjourned the matter to April 6.

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