The Delhi High Court has sought the city police's response on a woman's plea seeking direction to lodge an FIR against animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi and her sister for "illegally" taking away animals from a shelter home and threatening her.
Issuing notice to police, Justice Kailash Gambhir sought their replies by October 21 on Nisha Sharma's plea alleging police failure in lodging a case against Gandhi, founder member of Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre (SGACC), and also her sister Ambika Shukla, its director, under various sections of IPC for threatening her and also under the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals Act for forcefully taking away the animals.
The court also asked police to file a status report on Sharma's claim that Shukla on March 28, 2012 had forcefully taken away some animals, including those given to her by one Sheila Devall, from her shelter home "without any legal sanction and authority" in police presence.
The petition, filed through advocate Nikita Sharma and Atul Nagarajan, challenged the magistrate as well as session judge's order dismissing the plea and said "respondents (Gandhi and Shukla) are private people having a NGO and they have no authority under any provision of law to take away the animals forcefully from the possession of anyone."
"Animal board is the only authority having such powers and no private individual. No prior notice or intimation was given to the petitioner," the plea said.
According to Sharma, British national Devall had given her animals for care in the shelter home as she was leaving for Mumbai.
Sharma said she had got a call from Shukla on March 28, 2012 saying Devall was associated with SGACC and had illegally kept some animals of the NGO but without informing its management she had left the place and given the animals to the shelter home.
Shukla and her associates had come to the petitioner's shelter home and not only taken away Davell's animals and also taken away the pets belonging to the petitioner, the plea said.
The plea also alleged that Shukla and her sister had threatened the petitioner, who was pregnant when the incident had happened, over phone for keeping the animals.
Claiming that the petitioner's husband had lodged a complaint with the police, the plea contended that no further legal action was taken by the police.
In April last year, the petitioner had filed a complaint before the magistrate who had dismissed the plea. Again, the sessions judge had also rejected the petitioner's appeal in April this year.
Citing Supreme Court judgements, the petitioner said once a complaint is filed, the police is bound to register a case and sought quashing of the trial court orders.