The three municipal corporations of Delhi want to eliminate “ferocious and dangerous” stray dogs that pose a danger to the safety of human beings. These measures can only be implemented after the civic body identifies the dangerous dogs, the corporation told the Supreme Court on Monday.
Senior advocate Sanjiv Sen, appearing for the corporations, told a bench headed by justice Dipak Misra that there was a need to adopt a balanced approach as lives of humans were equally important. Sen said the Capital had reported various incidents in which infants, children and elderly have been attacked, injured and even killed by stray dogs.
Sen made his submission during the hearing of a petition by People for Elimination of Stray Animals, which wants stray dogs to be killed as they are a nuisance. He requested the court to hear the corporations’ stand though the case came before it pursuant to a Bombay High Court verdict turning down the petitioner’s plea. Sen said efforts should be made to protect the man’s best friend but the extreme step to kill them should be taken in case the dog is identified as dangerous.
The SC accepted Sen’s request and also permitted the Animal Welfare Board to file an appeal against the Kerala High Court order that allows killing of stray dogs if proved to be a menace. The top court said it would decide the issue in the wake of conflicting judgements by two different high courts.
Last week the National Human Rights Commission also decided to examine whether animal rights can take precedence over human rights. Taking suo-motu cognizance of the recent spates of dog attacks in the Capital, it has sent a notice to Delhi government.
While giving the Delhi chief secretary and Union health secretary four weeks to reply, the Commission called for a wider debate by the civil society on pitting human rights against animal rights “in a situation where human lives are at risk due to attack by animals.”
Another SC bench is examining whether civic authorities can be asked to compensate a resident bitten by a stray dog.