The Bombay High Court has held that persons of civil society cannot use coercive measures and prevent persons like petitioner from taking care of stray animals as this would not only be contrary to the provisions of law but would also amount to commission of an offence.

The Bench of Justice G.S. Kulkarni and Justice R.N. Laddha observed that “We also intend to sound a word of caution to the members of the managing committee and the other members of the society that to hate the 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.”

Advocate Nishad Nevgi appeared for the petitioner and Advocate Pooja Yadav appeared for the Municipal Corporation of Gr. Mumbai, AGP Manish Upadhye appeared for the State- respondent.

In this case, the plea was moved to protect the stray animals from cruelty being caused, by the management of the society by not permitting the petitioner to feed these dogs and to care for their requirements including providing water. The grievance was, also, that a designated area for feeding the dogs was not being provided by the society.

The Court noted that as per the resolution passed by the Managing Committee of the Housing Society, a specific space was to be allotted for feeding the dogs, but no space had been allotted till date. Moreover, bouncers were to be hired to protect the residents and stop the feeders from feeding the dogs.

“Certainly there is a need to designate feed spots as Rule 21(i) and (ii) would contemplate. 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.” remarked the Court.

The Court said that “In our opinion, considering the object and intention of the statutory Rules read with all the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, 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.”

Accordingly, 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 the matter was listed for further hearing on April 6, 2023.

Cause Title- Paromita Purthan v. Municipal Corporation of Gr. Mumbai & Ors.

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