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SC notice on compensation to dog bite victims

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the central and Kerala governments on a plea seeking compensation to dog bite victims and the availability of sufficient amount of medicines in the hospitals across the country for free of cost treatment of poor people bitten by dogs.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant issued the notice returnable in four weeks as petitioner NGO Janasewa Sisubhavan sought direction for the effective vaccination and sterilization of the stray dogs for controlling their population.

AS it issued notice, the court recorded the submission by the NGO seeking implementation of sections 9(f) and 11(3)(b)(c) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and section 438 of Kerala Municipality Act, 1994.

Section 9(f) provides for taking “all such steps as the Animal Welfare Board of India may think fit to ensure that unwanted animals are destroyed by local authorities, whenever it is necessary to do so, either instantaneously or after being rendered insensible to pain or suffering”, while section 11(3)(b)(c) provides for destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers and extermination or destruction of any animal under the authority of any law for the time being in force.

The court also noted the newspaper clippings showing that the children have been bitten by the stray dogs and have suffered serious injuries.

Lawyer V.K. Biju sought special protection for school children, saying they were targets of stray dogs. The petition said that lakhs of children in the absence of primary necessities of their childhood were wandering on the streets and falling prey to dangerous stray dogs.

Seeking rehabilitation of families of people who had died due to dog bites, Janasewa Sisubhavan said that in Kerala, one hospital alone received 24 patients of dog bites in one day.

Biju sought special protection for school children, saying they were targets of stray dogs. The petition said that lakhs of children in the absence of primary necessities of their childhood were wandering on the streets and falling prey to dangerous stray dogs.

He also urged the court to permit NGOs and other organisations to cull stray dogs.

The lawyer also sought direction that all the victims of dog bites be given free first aid by all hospitals in the country.

The NGO has sought direction to the Centre and Kerala government to make available sufficient quantity of medicines to all the government and private hospitals for the treatment of people bitten by stray dogs.

The court tagged the matter with an earlier case related to the culling of stray dogs in Kerala.

Referring to a series of incidents of dog bite in Kerala, Biju told the Court because of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the respective state laws on those lines, nobody was speaking about the victims who have already succumbed to dog bites or were in different stages of deceases due to rabies.