Taking a sympathetic view towards the stray animals, the Bombay High Court remarked that it would be an obligation of residents of a housing society in suburban Kandivali to make provisions of adequate drinking water for animals considering the onset of the summer season.
A division bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and RN Laddha on Monday observed that in a dispute between a housing society and some of its members over feeding of stray animals within the society premises, the animals should not suffer.
The HC was hearing two petitions, one filed by RNA Royale Park Cooperative Housing Society Ltd in Kandivali West and another petition by one of the residents, Paromita Purthan, a dog lover, alleging cruelty on the part of the managing committee by restraining her from feeding the dogs on the premises. She also pointed out that the society had not designated a feeding spot as per the provisions of the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2023.
'Parties need to amicably resolve the dispute'
Earlier, the HC had directed the society to amicably resolve issues with Purthan over feeding of 18 stray dogs inside the society premises and designate a place for the same.
“The petitioner (Purthan) intends to provide drinking water to the dogs. In this regard, the parties need to amicably resolve the dispute as it should not be that drinking water is not provided to the dogs. It would be an obligation of the residents of the society to always make provision for adequate water to be made available to the animals, more particularly considering the onset of the summer season,” observed the bench.
While disposing of the petition, the HC has left most of the issues to be settled amicably between the parties, except it has directed the society to entertain complaints against its own security guards hitting the animals with a stick and take appropriate action against them. The judges opined that this would amount to cruelty towards the animals and would further aggravate their behaviour.
“This would be necessary as we are of the clear opinion that such coercive methods would certainly amount to an act of cruelty to the animals. This apart, such methods being used by the Security Guards or any other persons would aggravate the behaviour of the animals, apart from inflicting cruelty to the animals,” the bench said.
Vaccination and sterilisation of dogs
The society had raised the issue of vaccination and sterilisation of the dogs. The HC has asked the designated officer of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to hear the society and Purthan and take an appropriate decision on all the issues after considering the views of the animal welfare NGO.
Purthan, at the end, assured the court that she would not bring in any new stary dog within the society premises. The court accepted the statement while disposing of the petitions.
During the hearing last month, the judges had observed that stray animals are a part of our society and that we have to live with them and care for them. “You have nurtured those dogs; they are part of your society. These are all living beings, we have to care for them. Do not drag them out,” the judges had said.