The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday stayed the observation of the Bombay High Court's (HC's) Nagpur bench that those who feed stray dogs must adopt them or put them up in dog shelter homes and also bear expenses for their maintenance.
A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and JK Maheshwari said: "We deem it appropriate to stay the following observation, 'that so called friends of stray dogs, who are really interested in protection and welfare of the stray dogs, they must adopt the stray dogs, take home the stray dogs or at least put them up in some good dog shelter homes and bear all the expenses for their registration with municipal authorities and towards their health and vaccination'."
It also directed the Nagpur municipal corporation to take steps for the general public to feed stray dogs at appropriate locations, identified and demarcated by them.
The bench also asked the public to ensure no nuisance is caused by feeding the stray dogs and added that till next date of hearing, no coercive steps should be taken in pursuance of the 20th October order of the HC, ordering the imposition of a Rs200 penalty for every breach.
It asked the municipal corporation and Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to file their responses and also take stand on the HC's directions.
The bench said: "It will be open to the municipal corporation to also deal with the issue of nuisance caused by the stray dogs in accordance with law."
It further added that till the next date of hearing, it will be open to the municipal corporation to note down names and details of those creating public nuisance by feeding stray dogs.
It asked Nagpur municipal corporation lawyer whether the HC order on the aspect of feeding and adopting stray dogs is practical. The counsel replied that she will take instructions on the aspect of feeding stray dogs and put it on an affidavit.
Counsel submitted that the civic body and AWBI can work together and offer a workable solution. The bench orally observed that in the meantime, "we have to stay certain parts of the order." However, it clarified that the proceeding before the HC in the matter will continue.
The top court said the matter will be heard with a pending petition in the month of February next year.
The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, in its order, had noted that in the past the authorities had taken certain steps in the direction of controlling the nuisance of stray dogs, but it was not enough to eliminate it or even reduce it. It had directed authorities to impose a fine of not more than Rs200 on citizens who feed stray dogs on the roads and in public places in the city.
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