Mumbai street dogs have their day in the apex court

January 23rd, 2009 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Mumbai street dogs had their day in the Supreme Court Friday with a battery of legal luminaries standing up to defend their right to live.Senior legal experts, who made the appearance before the bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan for the canines’ cause, included eminent jurist Fali S. Nariman.

The legal eagles, who appeared before the bench challenged a Dec 19 ruling of the Bombay High Court which mandated the civic body of Mumbai “to seize and kill any street dog it considers a nuisance”, included the Union government’s second top-most law officer Goolam E. Vahanvati.

Appearing for the Animal Welfare Board of India, Nariman contended, “How can they eliminate so many dogs from the streets. They too have the right to live. It’s inhuman.”

Chief Justice Balakrishnan asked the Mumbai civic authorities to consider the option of sterilisation to contain the mushrooming growth of canines.

The bench, which also included Justice P. Sathasivam, suspended the Bombay High Court’s ruling till adjudication of a petition that challenged the legality of the high court ruling.

The legal hawks argued that the commissioner of the Bombay Municipal Corporation needed to abide by the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, which advocates sterilisation and vaccination of street dogs.

“The ability to procreate is humanely targeted - killing is strictly prohibited.”

“Only incurably ill, mortally wounded, and rabid dogs should be allowed to put be to sleep or be removed.”

The commissioner must be stopped from resorting to “seize and kill” method against any street dog he considers a “nuisance”, the legal experts said.

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