The Bombay HC on 8th May 2020 ordered the State government to pass clear instructions to the police. That they should not stop pet taxis or ambulances to ferry sick animals to the veterinarians. The State was also asked to give clarity on whether pet owners can take their pets for a walk during the current lockdown.
Brief Facts of the Case
Justice SC Gupte was hearing a PIL filed by Vineeta Tandon, an animal welfare activist from Pune. She said that due to Coronavirus lockdown, police are stopping citizens. Especially from taking their pets to walk especially dogs.
Contentions by the Petitioner
Petitioner’s lawyer Harshwardhan Bhende contended that police stations have issued arbitrary directions. The directions stop the residents of housing societies from taking their dogs for walks. It is also stated that pet taxis operated by NGOs are getting stopped. Police are not letting the transportation of animals from their shelters to veterinary clinics. Moreover, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) also issued directions to allow people to walk their dogs as a measure of prevention of cruelty to animals. The police administration is refusing to issue. The said directive by AWBI has reported in the press, Bhende submitted.
Contention by the Respondents
For the State, AGP PP Kakade says that the State prohibits people from walking their dogs. But only outside compounds of societies or homes. They are not stopping from walking them within the compounds. About vehicle for ferrying of sick animals, the State has asked police not to stop these.
“If there is any order issued by the AWBI to the State DGPs in the matter of walking of dogs, the State must take a decision. They should communicate the same to the court by this next date. In the meantime, the State is to issue a clear order to the police not to stop ambulances or pet taxis with sick animals.”
The next date of hearing is May 15, 2020. While allowing Petition, the HC said that this choice is an individual one. That it is tracing to the fundamental right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution.
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