Allahabad High Court
Allahabad High Court
Litigation News

[COVID-19] Allahabad HC stays its order directing removal of stray dogs from city limits after Maneka Gandhi intervention

The Court passed the order while dealing with the suo motu case registered to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Uttar Pradesh.

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

While hearing the suo motu case on the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state and the state government's handling of the pandemic, the Allahabad High Court recently issued a fresh slew of orders (In Re Inhuman Conditions at Quarantine Centers and Treatment of Corona Positive).

Earlier, the Court through Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar had directed the Nagar Nigam to remove stray cattle and dogs from within the city precincts.

The Court had noted in its earlier order,

"Stray cattle which are a great cause for accident and stray dogs which are on many an occasion rabid are of a great concern to the city. In this time of pandemic when people are worried about their safety stray cattle and stray dogs must compulsorily be removed to avoid any nuisance.”

However, the Bench has now stayed its earlier order after considering an intervention application filed by Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, who prayed for a recall of the August 28 order insofar as it related to removal of animals.

Gandhi’s counsel had relied on the Supreme Court’s directions in Animal Welfare Board of India v. People for Elimination of Stray, wherein High Courts were directed not to pass orders under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001 pertaining to dogs since this matter is pending before the Supreme Court.

Stating that propriety compelled keeping the order in abeyance, the High Court has stayed its earlier order temporarily. The Nagar Nigam has been directed to respond to Gandhi’s application. The order states,

"Be that as it may, in view of the observations made by the Apex Court in the aforesaid case as quoted hereinabove, propriety demands us to put in abeyance that part of our order dated 28.08.2020 by which stray dogs have been sought to be removed from the city area.

Accordingly, we direct Nagar Nigam to file a proper reply to the intervention application within a period of ten days and in the meantime, we are putting in abeyance the part of the directions contained in our order dated 28.08.2020 that provides for removal of stray dogs."

The Court has also hauled up the State for not implementing social distancing norms and wearing of masks effectively. The State has been called upon to submit an affidavit of its plan in facing the outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

In its previous order, the Court had expressed the hope that the State would take valuable steps and lay down a ‘complete roadmap’ on steps proposed to be taken.

On Friday, the Bench said:

“We hope and trust that valuable steps would be taken by the next date fixed and a complete road map would be there by which public movement could be minimized. We expect stricter time schedules for shops would be there and also every effort would be made to minimize conglomeration of people in public places and in public vehicles.”

In the same order, the Court had also directed the Pragyaraj district magistrate to ascertain the feasibility of involving corporators and volunteers from organisations such as the National Cadet Corps and Bharat Scout, as well as others.

The matter will be taken up next on Wednesday, September 2.

Read the Orders here:

In Re Inhuman Conditions at Quarantine Centers and Treatment of Corona Positive - Interim Order August 31.pdf
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In Re Inhuman Conditions at Quarantine Centers and Treatment of Corona Positive - Interim Order August 28.pdf
Preview
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