New Delhi :The Delhi High Court was today faced with a peculiar question as it wondered what is to be done with stray dogs at its premises and how to deal with them, with the rules saying the canines have to be relocated at the same place after sterilisation and immunisation.
A bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath reserved its order on a plea challenging the order of a single judge asking NDMC to remove stray dogs from the premises of the Delhi Golf Club within a month and relocate them elsewhere.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw in his November 4 order had said after the dogs were sterilised, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) cannot insist on releasing them back in the private property of the club where they were picked up from.
The Animal Welfare Board of India, which has challenged the November 4 order, has said under the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, the canines cannot be relocated in other areas.
“Tell us if around 25 stray dogs entered the High Court premises, which is a public place, how can they be dealt with. Under the said rules, they have to be relocated in the same locality after sterilisation or immunisation. If animals have their rights, so do humans,” the bench said.
One of the lawyers for the Board replied that the High Court had already faced a similar situation earlier when several dogs used to stay near the typing pool and the civic body was called to take the animals away.
“They were released after sterilisation in the same area but after some time their population fell and now around 5-6 dogs can be spotted in the area with one even staying near a bank inside the court premises,” the lawyer said.
The Board also told the court that the Supreme Court, hearing a similar matter recently, had said a “balance between compassion for animals and human lives” has to be struck.
He said the apex court had allowed the elimination of only “irretrievably ill or mortally wounded” stray dogs in a “humane manner” and asked all states and union territories to go by the central rules on the issue.