The Punjab and Haryana high court came down heavily on the Chandigarh municipal corporation on Tuesday for not working with a committee to tackle the stray dog menace in the city. But, before starting contempt proceedings against the MC for not following its orders, it gave the civic body one more chance.
During the hearing on Tuesday, advocate Ravi Kamal Gupta, appointed by the court to assist a committee to oversee relevant programmes of the MC, informed the court that MC officials, particularly medical officer Dr Parminder Singh Bhatti, had refused to cooperate. Due to that, no meeting of the said committee could be held, the lawyer argued.
At this, the HC said, "Prima facie, it appears that this attitude of officials of the corporation borders on contempt of court. Before initiating further proceedings, however, one opportunity is granted."
The court asked the MC's counsel to seek instructions from the corporation on the issue, and it also asked the medical officer and other members to hold a meeting at the earliest. Further, it directed the MC to provide vehicles,in case the members wished to visit some places in the city.
It was on December 23 that the high court had constituted the committee, observing that 14 persons suffered dogbite in Sector 20 alone during the pendency of the petition, which has been filed by city resident Gurmukh Singh. Retired HC judge Rakesh Kumar Garg heads the committee that has two other members and had to file a report within six weeks from December, and bimonthly reports thereafter.
Posting the matter for further hearing on March 4, the court made it clear that further non-cooperation by officials of the corporation would mean that the MC was trying to defeat the purpose for which the committee had been constituted. The committee has been authorised to even summon the MC commissioner whenever desired so.
8,000 stray dogs in Chandigarh
A survey conducted by the animal husbandry department of Chandigarh in October 2013 - the latest such study - put the number of stray dogs in the city at 8,000 stray dogs, with Sector 22 having the maximum of 347. Sector 19 was second with 333, while Sector 12, which includes the PGIMER, was third with 270 stray dogs.