To hate and treat stray dogs with cruelty can never be an acceptable approach from "persons of civil society", the Bombay High Court remarked while asking a housing society to amicably resolve issues with one of the residents over designating feeding spots for dogs.
A division bench of Justices G S Kulkarni and R N Laddha on Tuesday gave the example of lawyers and judges taking care of many stray dogs and cats in the High Court building complex.
"Take a round of the high court building...have you seen the number of cats...they are sometimes sitting on the dais too. You take them (cats) anywhere they come back," Justice Kulkarni said.
"These animals are also living beings and a part of our society...we have to take care of them," the court added.
He said a judge, now retired, used to carry biscuits with him and dogs would follow him.
"Everything non-co-operative happens in a cooperative society," Justice Kulkarni said.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by one Paromita Purthan, who claims to be an animal lover taking care of 18 stray dogs in her society at suburban Kandivali.
Purthan claimed she was not being permitted to feed the dogs and care for their requirements and a designated area for feeding the dogs is not being provided.
The petitioner claimed that the society management issued a directive to hire bouncers to stop Purthan.
On Monday, when the court heard the petition it remarked that the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2023 issued by the Union government puts an obligation on everyone from causing any cruelty and harassment to the animals, as also to those, who intend to take care for these animals.
"We intend to sound a word of caution to the members of the managing committee and the other members of the society that to hate stray dogs and/or treat them with cruelty can never be an acceptable approach, from persons of civil society, as an act of cruelty to such animals would be against the Constitutional ethos and the statutory provisions," the court stated in its order on Monday.
Hearing the matter on Tuesday, the bench was informed by the housing society that it had not hired any bouncers as alleged in the plea.
The court directed the society management and the petitioner to amicably resolve the issues and to consider having a designated feeding spot for the stray animals and posted the matter for further hearing on April 6.
The bench said until then the petitioner can continue feeding the dogs at the society's parking lot.
The court on Monday referred to the Animal Birth Control Rules and said the mandate of the Rules needs to be strictly adhered to by the society so that the rights of these animals are recognized and they are not subjected to any cruelty.
It also underlined the need to have designated feeding spots as contemplated in the rules.
"This apart, there cannot be any impediment or any restraint caused by the society, much less by using any coercive methods by appointing bouncers so as to discourage or to prevent the petitioner or any animal lover from taking care of the stray animals. It is difficult for us to believe that in the present case, bouncers could be appointed for such purposes.
"In our opinion, considering the object and intention of the Rules read with all the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act it would be an obligation of all the members of the Society to follow the mandate of law and to prevent themselves from causing any cruelty and harassment to the animals, as also to those, who intend to take care for these animals," the court had said in the order.