Chandigarh, May 31
Admonishing the authorities in Gurugram for a mere “eyewash” in the stray dog menace case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Municipal Corporation Commissioner to remain present before the Bench. He has been directed to explain the corporation’s “abysmal failure” to ensure stray dog-free streets. Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj also directed him to elaborate upon the measures adopted for sterilisation to check their growth.
The directions came after Justice Bhardwaj took note of the fact that there were more than 17,000 stray dogs as per an affidavit, but only 60 had purportedly been kept in infirmaries. “The action on the part of the municipal authorities is highly wanting and is akin to inaction. They have only taken recourse to collection of registration charges and have not taken appropriate measures to check the menace,” Justice Bhardwaj asserted.
As the matter came up for resumed hearing, a status report filed by Joint Commissioner (SBM), Gurugram Municipal Corporation, Naresh Kumar was placed before the Bench. Among other things, it stated that 367 dogs were registered after February 15 –– the previous date of hearing.
The affidavit added that 512 poo-disposal bags were also distributed by the corporation through its registered agencies. Besides, 17,195 dogs were vaccinated in the past three years by the agency engaged by the corporation. As many as 2,908 dogs were vaccinated from February 15 till the filing of the affidavit. The Bench was also told that 1,670 dog-bite cases had been reported to the corporation through various platforms.
Justice Bhardwaj asserted: “It is evident from the affidavit that the authorities are undertaking an exercise, which is nothing more than a mere eyewash despite a large number of dog bite cases. The menace in the city is twofold –– stray dogs as well as registered/unregistered dogs left on streets by owners without any leash causing threat and injuries to walkers/pedestrians.”
Justice Bhardwaj added that Rs 2 lakh compensation was awarded by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum to a victim. The lapses on the part of the corporation, under the given circumstances, were glaring.
Justice Bhardwaj also took note of the contention of the claimant’s counsel that the corporation never challenged the award, but the compensation disbursement had been withheld. The counsel also prayed for a modification of the interim order so that the compensation could be released.
Modifying the interim order earlier passed by the court, Justice Bhardwaj asserted that there would be no stay on compensation disbursement, unless stayed by an appellate forum.
The Bench had earlier stayed the operation of the interim order, dated November 15, 2022, passed by the Disputes Redressal Commission. Among other directions, it had completely banned with immediate effect pet dogs of 11 foreign breeds.
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