In 2001 “Stray Dog Free Bangalore” and others filed a PIL alleging stray dog menace in Bangalore City and sought the relief asking the BBMP to act under Karnataka Municipal Corporation to detain and destroy ALL dogs.
- WRIT PETITION NO. 37359/2001, TITLED ‘STRAY DOG FREE BANGALORE & (27) OTHERS VS STATE OF KARNATAKA AND (2) OTHERS’, AND
- WRIT PETITION NO. 1970/2001, TITLED ‘SUBHASHINI K. REDDY VS COMMISSIONER BMP & (2) OTHERS’
Some of the other petitioners included Richards Town Citizens Association, The Defence Colony Residents Association, HAL III Stage 1st Block Residents Association, BSK I Stage Residents Association, BSK II Stage Residents Association, HAL III Stage Tax Payers and Residents Association, Sulatanpalya Residents Association, BSK III Stage Residents Association.
The petition was disregarded by the Chief Justice and the order passed by the Court containing prominent reference to MONITORING COMMITTEE, and recording an expectation that the authorities [with the aid of the Monitoring Committee andothers] would “go on monitoring the stray dog control program”].
As is the case with most enactments dealing with the functions and powers of municipalities, the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, vide its Section 345, provides for destruction of stray pigs and dogs : “…summarily destroyed by any person authorised in that behalf in writing by the Commissioner”, if found straying. The Karnataka Police Act, 1963, vide its Section 43 also provides for destruction of stray dogs “wandering in the streets or in any public place”. These provisions were envisioned as empowering the concerned authorities to control the menace of stray animals,especially dogs.
As is now well known, the ‘manner’ of controlling stray dog population (and the threat of rabies) by archaic municipal laws is at variance with the view expressed and method prescribed by expertorganizations such as the WHO and the WSPA.
In the year 2002, two petitions, with diametrically varying prayers, were heard and finally disposedoff by the Chief Justice’s bench of the Karnataka High Court, by a common order passed on 7thAugust, 2002. These were Writ Petition Numbers 37359/2001, and 1970/2001, titled ‘Stray DogFree Bangalore & (27) others Vs State of Karnatka and (2) others’, and ‘Subhashini K. Reddy VsCommissioner BMP & (2) others’.
The petitioners in Writ Petition Number 37359/2001 had prayed for a direction to the respondentsto enforce the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, and the KarnatakaPolice Act, 1963, and “to catch and eliminate the menace of stray dogs in the City of Bangalore”. Thepetitioner in Writ Petition Number 1970/2001 had, on the other hand, prayed for a direction to therespondents “to round up all the stray dogs of Bangalore City and sterilise all stray dogs”.
The judges, in their wisdom, noted the submission made by the Commissioner, BMP (as it thenwas) that dogs were being “caught, sterilized, confined and euthanized depending on the situation”. Further, that the BMP “monitors the entire activity after taking the assistance of the NGOs”. Furthermore, that a “Monitoring Committee has been constituted which guides the NGOs, for takingcorrective action and for better management and it meets once a month and decisions taken thereinare implemented by Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the NGOs”.
The Court then recorded, in the concluding para of the judgment, that when the authorities concerned were taking all precautionary measures to control the stray dog menace, and weremonitoring the “stray dog control programme”, it was not necessary to pass any specific order.
The writ petitions were then disposed off, after an expectation recorded by the Court, that the authorities would “go on monitoring the stray dog control programme”.
Essentially to preclude a cull situation, or resort to the ‘destruction of stray dogs’ part of your municipal law, ensure that the Monitoring Committee, if set up by your local authority, meets regularly and monitors the stray dog situation. You can ensure the same through RTIs, and asking questions, and making demands as responsible citizens.