The Delhi High Court recently stated that municipal authorities should not be expected to completely eradicate all stray animals, including cattle, monkeys, or dogs - from the roads and municipal areas in the national capital.
Justice C Hari Shankar, in an order passed on February 7, stated that municipal authorities should instead take "concerted, sincere, and optimum steps" to ensure that such animals are rehabilitated and do not pose a menace to the residents of Delhi or the traffic on the roads.
The single-judge made these observations while disposing of a contempt of court petition that alleged non-compliance with the directions issued in a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed in 2019 regarding taking action concerning stray animals.
The Court examined the status reports filed in the contempt case and observed that the estimated cattle population in Delhi, post-COVID-19 pandemic, was around 8,367. It was informed that the four Gaushalas in the city had adequate space to accommodate abandoned cattle. Additionally, the Court took note of other measures undertaken by authorities to address the issue of stray animals.
Against this backdrop, the Court concluded that the assertions made in the status reports "constitute substantial compliance with the directions contained in this Court's order dated 25 September 2019." It emphasized that the previous directions must be "meaningfully understood," as the authorities are not obligated to entirely eradicate stray animals from the streets.
The Court concluded that there was no disobedience of the directions passed by the Court, emphasizing the distinction between contempt and enforcement.
Advocate JK Gupta represented the petitioner.
Advocate Aditi Saraswat for Additional Standing Counsel (Civil) Jawahar Raja respresented the respondents.
Standing Counsel Akhil Mittal represented the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Advocate Vivek Kumar also appeared in the case.
Case Title : Shri Salek Chand Jain vs Sh Vijay Kumar Dev & Ors
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