MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Thursday ordered the Maharashtra government to take action against shops illegally selling pets, exotic birds, tortoises etc, especially in Mumbai. The bench has also ordered the state animal welfare board to clarify it's stand on the issue of such illegal shops.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by one Shivraj Patne, highlighting the issue, especially in Kurla and Crawford market.
Advocate Sanjukta Dey, appearing for Patne informed that the HC bench led by the then Chief Justice Manjula Chellur had ordered the state authorities to ensure such shops do not continue with their businesses as they were found to be illegal.
"But these shops are back to business. They haven't obtained any licence from the state animal welfare board and continue to run their shops and sell pets and exotic birds protected under the Wildlife Protection Act in crampled cages," Dey submitted.
At this, Justice Kulkarni pointed out that these shops are everywhere in the city and there seems to be no action despite earlier orders.
"They aren't selling only pet foods... They are selling birds etc... In a way they are selling animals," Justice Kulkarni said, adding, "Some shops were operating just 200 meters away from the MRA police station in the city but there wasn't any action. We passed orders but now these shops are back. You (state) can't let this happen."
During the hearing, Dey informed the court that she visited shops at Kurla and Crawford markets. "Even weaning puppies are kept for sale. In fact these puppies must be kept with their mothers. Apart from puppies, exotic birds, star tortoises are being sold," she said.
"These pets are kept open under the sun and rains. No food is given to them," she highlighted.
The bench sought to know as to which authority should be taking action against these shops and issuing licenses. "State Animal Welfare Board," Dey replied.
"It cannot be that frontage of the shop is something and behind something else is going on," Justice Kulkarni said, adding, "Your machinery has to be activated... This is a serious matter."
The judge further said, "Let the animal welfare board appear before us and clarify their stand. Till then, take whatever action is needed under the law."
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