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Implementation of the AWBI guidelines for safety for street dogs and their caregivers: Delhi High Court.

Just like humans, even dogs have a right to eat food and humans have a right to feed the dogs. Dogs are one of the most important and essential animals and pets that exist on this planet and we need to protect them at all costs. Unfortunately, in our society, we see that many lovely and cute dogs have been treated unfairly and been denied food to eat. We must understand and process that dogs, like humans, have a right to live, the right to live can only come into effect if they are given food on a regular basis. The Delhi High Court on the 24th of June, 2021, in the case of Dr. Maya D. Chablani V Radha Mittal & Ors. (I.A. No. 4164/2021 and CS(OS) 277/2020), comprising a single judge bench led by Justice J R Midha established a few sets of guidelines to protect the street dogs and the citizens who feed those street dogs for the feeding and treatment of the street dogs.

Justice J R Midha recognises streets dogs as territorial beings and that they roam around in ‘packs’ i.e., they roam around in groups and hence must not be separated. He also added and said that those street dogs must be tended to and fed at various place within their own territory in designated areas by AWBI construction along with either the municipal corporation or the RWA (Residents Welfare Associations).

The Delhi High Court further directed the law enforcement agencies to ensure that neither harassment nor hindrance occurs in respect with either the street dogs or the citizen trying to feed those street dogs by providing them with protection at the feeding spots across the city. Revised Guidelines of the AWBI dated 26th February 2016 were to be strictly followed and properly implemented.

In the absence of the RWA (Resident Welfare Association), an AWC (Animal Welfare Committee) must be created to ensure harmony and peace between residents, animal lovers, caregivers etc.

For the purposes of implementing the guidelines, the court had constituted an implementation committee including the members as follows:

  1. Ms. Manisha T. Karia, Advocate for Animal Welfare Board of India.
  2. One Senior Officer to be nominated by all the Municipal Corporations.
  3. One Senior Officer to be nominated by Animal Welfare Board of India.
  4. One Senior Officer to be nominated by Delhi Cantonment Board.
  5. The Director, Animal Husbandry Department, or his nominee
  6. Advocate Pragyan Sharma
  7. Ms. Nandita Rao, Additional Standing Counsel, Govt. of NCT of Delhi as Convenor.

The Delhi High Court directed that “AWBI shall ensure that every Resident Welfare Association or Municipal Corporation (in case RWA is not available), shall have an Animal Welfare Committee, which shall be responsible for ensuring compliance of the provisions of the PCA Act and ensure harmony and ease of communication between caregivers, feeders or animal lovers and other residents.”   

Click here for the judgment.

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