HC seeks clarity from activist over Animal Welfare Board taking care of pets during lockdownUpdated: May 22, 2020 21:38 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday directed an animal activist to respond to a challenge by the state to the claim made by her that the Animal Welfare Board had recommended allowing pet owners to take their pets out for walks during the lockdown.
The state, while agreeing to the board’s recommendation of providing shelters for strays and allowing feeders to feed strays, submitted that the petitioner had construed these directions as permission for allowing pet owners to take their pets out for walks, which was not valid.
The division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice SS Shinde, while hearing the petition filed by animal activist Vineeta Tandon, was informed through an affidavit by the state that various measures had been put in place to allow veterinary ambulances and private vehicles to ferry animals in need of medical care. The state further said that the requisite instructions had also been issued to local authorities to allow the movement of veterinary ambulances, and to allow authorised persons to ferry pets and strays in private vehicles in case ambulances were not available.
The affidavit further stated that instructions had also been issued for allowing feeders to feed strays by issuing them requisite permissions and passes.
When the petitioner insisted that the Animal Welfare Board, in a letter to the petitioner on May 5 and in April, had stated that pet owners could take their pets out for a walk, the state responded that after perusing the letters, no such recommendation was found, and on the contrary, the board had directed to arrange facilities for taking care of domesticated animals that would be abandoned by their owners during the pandemic. The state affidavit also pointed out that the instructions by the board were only addressed to the Pune municipal commissioner which was “surprising”.
After hearing the submissions, the bench asked the petitioner to respond to the averments of the state and also sought to know under what authority could the board issue directions and posted the matter for hearing on May 29.