The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the police to take immediate action on complaints registered about illegal sale of animals in Mumbai.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Sanjay Shirke who said that animals were being sold illegally in various markets across the city, especially, in Crawford Market. The petitioner’s lawyer, Abhishek Yende, told the court that after its order on April 10, the illegal sale of animals shifted from Crawford Market to markets in Kurla and Borivli. The plea claimed that despite the Wildlife Protection Act that bans the trade and trapping of indigenous as well as endangered birds, “a black market” for such trade thrives openly in the city. HT had published a series on cruelty to pets in April.
A member secretary of the Maharashtra state legal services authority also submitted a report of his visit to Crawford Market which stated that a few shop owners in the market continue to offer animals for sale. It revealed that on his demand, two shop owners had offered to sell him a tortoise but backed out of the deal at the last moment.
“Such activity cannot be allowed to go on anywhere across the city,” the bench headed by chief justice said on Thursday.
It added that since the illegal sale of animals had shifted to Kurla and Borivali, the directives issued on April 10 extended to areas within the jurisdiction of the BMC as also the commissioner of police.
On April 10, the high court had directed the assistant municipal commissioner of the concerned ward and a senior inspector of MRA Marg police station to keep a strict vigil against such sale in Crawford Market. It had also recorded utter displeasure over civic and state authorities’ inaction in tackling the problem.