NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Kerala government to follow the law in its true spirit even if it has to cull stray dogs.
A SC bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, asked the State to strictly follow the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Animal Birth Control Rules (ABC Rules) before the culling of dogs.
During a brief hearing, the Bench heard all parties and observed, “Everything needs to be heard in a holistic manner.”
Anjali Sharma, counsel representing the Animal Welfare Board of India, submitted before the court that the stray dog issue could be handled, along with controlling their population and curtailing threat of rabies, if the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules are implemented in letter and spirit by the local authorities and civic bodies.
The court agreed to hear two pleas filed by victims of dog-bites from Kerala and posted the case for hearing on November 18.
The court had, during the last hearing, issued notices to the Centre, Kerala government and the Municipal Corporation of Thiruvananthapuram on a Public Interest Litigation that termed as illegal, cruel and barbaric the State’s July 9 decision to cull stray dogs.
The Public Interest Litigation, filed by advocate Anupam Tripathi, said, “Vide an all-party meeting chaired by the Kerala Chief Minister dated July 9 it has been decided to cull and destroy over 2.5 lakh stray dogs in the State. The Municipal Corporation of Thiruvananthapuram and all similar local municipal bodies in the State of Kerala have been given instructions and decision to carry out the culling and destruction of over 2.5 lakh stray dogs.
“It is being submitted by the petitioner that the municipal bodies in Kerala are now indiscriminately, barbarically and in the most cruel, grotesque and monstrous manner are on the rampage in carrying out the orders of the Chief Minister and if some reliable sources are to be believed as per newspapers reports and animal rights activists in Kerala, more than 300-1,000 plus stray dogs are being mercilessly hacked to death each day in the most cruel fashion,” the plea said.
It sought a direction ‘to set up an independent committee’ to investigate the killings of innocent stray dogs in Kerala since July 9. Further hearing will determine the course by government.