Recently, Apex Court came out with order, prohibiting the culling of stray dogs, indiscriminately. It is a matter of concern, that why it had to take such a step? In Kerala a group people have been indulging in practice of culling stray dogs, as they have came across many incidents, where deaths have occurred due to dog bites.
Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001
Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, provides for the euthanasia of the street dogs in certain cases of Rabies or any other conditions as specified. People, or civilians cannot take the law in hand start killing stray dogs. In Kerala people started culling of stray dogs, and thus they are depriving them of their Right to life.
The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, also contains provisions for sterilization of dogs, to control their breeding. It is not up to people to take law in hand, but for the Animal Welfare Board of India, to take action and protect both dogs and human lives
Apex Court furtherpointed that all dogs should not suffer the rage of the people due to the death of one person by one dog bite. It said that there could be culling or euthanasia of them but not indiscriminately, as they also have a natural right of existence, as we humans do.
AIWA v. People for Elimination of Stray Troubles and Others
On November 18, 2015, Supreme Court of India, looked into the matter relating to increase in number of deaths of civilians by stray dog bites and asked, several states to file their respective views in affidavit. It also asked for the steps which has been taken by the state authorities, to prevent such incidents in future.
Further, one earlier, i.e. on March 9, 2016, Apex Court maintained silence on the issues of the culling of dogs and said that, there has to be balance between, culling of dogs and health of people being affected by them. It has to be seen whether balance can be outside the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001,which provides for sterilization on certain grounds, and not on the ground that their population is increasing.
On October 20, 2016, the Supreme Court came to know about the increasing population of the stray dogs in Kerala, which was said to be pose a threat to the people, by the Report which was given by Former Justice S Siri Jagan. Apex Court on this report did not, promote the idea of culling of dogs. Instead on November 17, 2016 when it came to know that several people are indulging in vigilante activities and were culling street dogs, it lashed out on them. It directed the police authorities in Kerala to register cases them, and bring them to justice.
Giving right to life: Similar to Article 21
It has particularly stated that state has the power and no one else could do culling on his own. The court has given a right to stray dogs somewhat similar to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, as no dog’s life could be deprived except by procedure established by law.
Moving to January 17, 2017 it expressly stated that stray dogs also have a right to life, and there cannot be a blanket order of culling them, and hence one has to look for balance between public interest and life of dog. A life of dog also deserve a dignity similar to a human life.
Lately, on March 3, 2017, Supreme Court further reiterated, that dogs cannot be culled indiscriminately and there has to be proper method, thus established that they also have a right to life similar to humans as enshrined under Article 21.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dhruv Chandora is currently pursuing 4th year of BA LLB (Hons) course at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab. A voracious reader and a keen learner, Dhruv is also a moot court enthusiast.