NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today refused to pass any interim order on a plea seeking a direction to authorities to stop the alleged rampant culling of stray dogs in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh following deaths of several children in the region.
A vacation bench comprising Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan said the matter would be heard in July.
The counsel appearing for one of the parties urged the bench to pass an interim order directing authorities to stop culling of dogs in the district. "We are not issuing any direction now. We will see it in July," the bench observed.
At the outset, the counsel alleged that dogs were illegally culled at Sitapur due to "fear psychosis" which was created by the administration as the district magistrate had given statements that children were killed by stray dogs.
The lawyer argued that one of the committees, which had gone to Sitapur to look into reasons behind the death of children, had said that none of the children were killed by dogs and perhaps some wild animals were responsible for these deaths.
Earlier, one of the lawyers in the case had told the apex court that there were two conflicting reports on deaths of children in Sitapur district.
One report said that children have died after being bitten by wild animals like hyenas, while the district magistrate's report suggested that deaths have occurred due to dog bites, the lawyer had said.
The court had earlier agreed to hear the plea filed by Gargi Srivastava against the alleged rampant culling of stray dogs in Sitapur.
The plea has sought a direction to the state government to ensure that no more killings of community dogs take place in the state as an after-effect of the death of 13 children in the past seven months in Sitapur unless it was established that dogs were behind such attacks.
According to the plea, the attacks have increased due to lack of proper and timely efforts by district administration and magnitude of the problem grew this month when unconfirmed reports of attacks being carried out by stray dogs appeared in the media after statements given by the district magistrate.
It has claimed that the top court, in its November 18, 2015 order, had categorically directed all local authorities and panchayats not to kill stray dogs.
The plea has sought a direction to the state government to take immediate action and lodge FIRs against individuals who were involved in aiding and abetting the killing of stray dogs without following due process of law and also initiate inquiry against erring officials of the district administration.