The Supreme Court today directed the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to submit data on dog bites in the last seven years across the country and the steps taken to check such incidents.

A Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice J K Maheshwari directed the AWBI to file an affidavit mentioning the details and also indicate whether it would like the court to lay the guidelines.

It also clarified that its 2015 order does not prohibit the authorities or individuals including registered societies from approaching High Courts or jurisdictional Courts.

"We do not think it is the intent of this court in the said order that all writ petitions or proceedings before High Courts, Civil Courts and authorities should come to a standstill and no effective orders can be passed by HCs in cases pertaining to stray dogs," the Bench said.

The Apex Court had earlier said a balance has to be maintained between the safety of people and animal rights, and suggested those who feed stray dogs could be made responsible for vaccinating them and bearing the cost of treatment if somebody is attacked by the animal.

The Apex Court has been hearing a batch of petitions on issues relating to orders passed by various civic bodies on the culling of stray dogs which have become a menace, especially in Kerala and Mumbai.

Some NGOs and individual petitioners have moved the apex court against the decisions of some High Courts, including the Bombay High Court and Kerala High Court, to allow municipal authorities to deal with the menace of stray dogs as per the rules.

With PTI inputs