Circular issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India, stating the lawful and unlawful aspects of dealing with Pet Dogs and Street Dogs

News Report on the 20th February 2014 dated Circular issued by Animal Welfare Board of India

News Report on the 20th February 2014 dated Circular issued by Animal Welfare Board of India

The Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India has come out with a revised Circular dated 20th February 2014, that clearly states what is lawful and unlawful with regard to the treatment of street dogs and pet dogs, by residents as well as Resident Welfare Associations (RWA), Apartment Owners’ Associations, Cooperative Group Housing Societies etc.

Why is this circular important and how should you be using it? 

  • This circular assumes importance because everyday, we as well as the Board receives numerous complaints from pet dog owners and street dog caretakers about the RWAs either putting restrictions on them for having pets, use of lifts or by pets or harassing street dog caretakers and/or attempting to harm/dislocate street dogs.
  • So, now with this Circular in your hand, the next time you, being a pet owner or a street animal caretaker, face an unruly RWA with misplaced intent of harassing you or the animals you care for, please argue your case and educate your RWA representatives by sharing this Circular and its contents with them.
  • The law is on the side of you and your dogs, so please do not succumb to any pressure or harassment and let go of your dogs.
  • The same circular, if required for may also be extrapolated for street cats and pet cats, though there is no Government run programme yet for Sterilization of Stray cats; but then Cats also have as much of a right as Street Dogs to live on the streets where they are born and belong.
  • Download this Circular by clicking here and keep a print out of the same handy with you.

AWBI Circular dated 20 Feb 2014_Page 1 AWBI Circular dated 20 Feb 2014_Page 2

The full text of the Circular is shared below:

Dated: 20th February 2014

TO WHOMSOEVER THIS MAY CONCERN

SUBJECT: PET DOGS AND STREET DOGS –THE ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA’S REVISED CIRCULAR

This Circular is being issued in place of an earlier Circular on this subject dated, 1st February 2014. It seeks to supplement what was earlier issued and to add to it; and the circular of 1st February 2014 stands hereby withdrawn.

The Board is acting in response to several requests received, to lend clarity and provide answers to recurring vexed questions. What I state below, is based on inputs received from the Board’s legal members and lawyers, on the correct position in law with regard to various aspects concerning pet dogs and street dogs.

The issuance of this circular has also been necessitated because it is well known that in recent times, RWA’s, Apartment owners’ association cooperative group housing societies and other gated complexes have taken to imposing many unreasonable restriction on pet owning resident such as disallowing the use of lifts or park by pets or even banning pets altogether. They’re also known to frequently encourage mistreatment, dislocation and dumping of street dogs. Moreover, compassionate persons that wish to tend to and feed street dog are often discouraged, and pressurized to refrain from doing so. There is widespread resentment against these moves, which apart from being unreasonable, are also unlawful and against recent court rulings.

As an RWA or an apartment owners’ association group housing society, gated complex, etc. you may often be getting complaints regarding street dogs, and requests that they be driven away, through beating by security guards or otherwise, or just dumped elsewhere. If you accede to these requests, you will not only be violating laws and pronouncements of courts, but also, you will not achieve any permanent solution either. The problem will become perennial; and you will also run afoul of animal welfare people that are increasing in number by the day, and banding themselves into well organized groups.

Set out below. Are some Dos, and Don’ts, with respect to PET DOGS & STREET DOGS

  1. WITH RESPECT TO PET DOGS & PET OWNING RESIDENTS: what you (i.e. the RWA/residents) CANNOT do:-

 BANNING pets, whether allowed:        

a)      Even by obtaining consensus, or even if the majority of the residents want it. You cannot legally introduce any sort of ‘ban’ on the keeping of pet dogs by resident/s. You cannot insist that ‘small sized’ dog is acceptable, and ‘large sized’ dogs are not. You cannot cite dog barking as a valid and compelling reason for any ban sought to be introduced by you.

b)      Even by amending bye-laws or regulation or otherwise such a ‘ban’ cannot be put into place since it is illegal, and does not have the sanction of law in fact, in trying to ’ban” pets or limit their number, you interfere with a fundamental freedom guaranteed to the citizens of India i.e. the freedom to choose the life they wish to live, which includes facets such as living with or without companion animal.

c)      If the resident that have pets are not violating any municipal or other laws, you cannot object. The general body cannot frame or amend bye-laws that are at variance with the laws of the country. Even by a complete majority, a general body cannot adopt an illegality. Please remember, you, as an RWA, do not have the right to legislate and ‘lay ‘ down for residents, and apartment owners or even tenants.

d)      Use of LIFTS by pets: There are court rulings to the effect that pets cannot be disallowed  from the use of lifts; and no charge can be imposed either, by housing societies for the use of lifts by pets. One court is in fact known  to have  observed that dogs are family, and can use lifts by pets for free please ensure that this sort of restriction is not therefore imposed- neither a ban, nor any special charges for the use of lifts by pets.

e)      Use of PARK by pets:  Banning pets from garden from park is short-sighted. Firstly, you may or may not own the garden or park in question. Pets that are not properly exercised may show aggression in frustration; and that surely, cannot contribute to the benefit of the residents. It may be better to fix timing when pets can be walked without inconvenience to other residents. These timings can then be intimated to the general body.

f)       Use of leashes/muzzles by pet owners, defecation by pets in community premises, imposition of fines and other similar measure: You can request pet owners to keep their pets in leash, when walking them in common areas. You cannot however insist on the use of muzzles. Please remember, the law already provides the penalties for negligent pet owners, which the aggrieved parties can avail of.

g)      In the absence of central or state laws requiring cleaning of pet excreta by pet owners, you cannot impose any rule, regulation or bye –law, with respect to mandatory cleaning of the same, or impose special charges or fines on pet owners. You can, of course, request them to do so.

h)      You can also experiment with the creation of various pet defecation areas within community premises. These can be imaginatively spaced out within the precincts, and you can request pet owners to train their pet into using the same. You cannot however impose fines and special charges of any kind of pet owners, because there is no mandate in law for the same.

i)       Intimidation:  Lastly, please also always bear in mind that if any association succeeds in intimidating a pet owner into ‘giving up’ or’ abandoning’ a pet, it will actually have abetted violation of law; and may well be aggravating the menace of ownerless animal on the street, that are not accustomed to living on street and therefore get involved in the lead to accidents, injuries and deaths. Please also bear in mind that intimidation is an offence in law.

  1. WITH RESPECT TO STREET DOGS: what you (i.e. the RWA/residents) CANNOT do:

a)      Beating and driving away street dogs, is NOT ALLOWED; Animal Birth Control and release back into same locality/territory, is ALLOWED: As per Indian law street dogs (i. e. stray dogs) cannot be beaten or driven away or dumped elsewhere or killed. They can merely be sterilized in the manner envisaged in the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, vaccinated and then returned back to their original locations. For the area-wise sterilization program that the law mandates shall be followed, dogs have to be returned back to their original habitat after sterilization and immunization.

b)      The rationale behind release back of street dogs into the same locality/territory after sterilization and vaccination: Dogs, being territorial in nature, tend to fight off other dogs. And keep them from entering their territories; and in the manner, the dog population in each territory/ within each locale stabilizes.

c)      Street dog feeding, whether inside or outside community premises and gated complexes: there is no law that prohibits the feeding of street animal. Citizen who choose to do so are in fact performing a duty cast  upon them by the Constitution of India – of showing compassion to all living creatures Various Court including High Courts have upheld street dog feeding since the same reduces human – animal  conflict and suspicion, and facilitates animal birth control (by making dog catching easier).

d)      Animal cruelty:  please also note, animal cruelty is an offence – under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, and Section 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code – punishable with imprisonment and fine.

e)      Intimidation: Attempts to interfere with, or harass persons who choose to tend to and feed community dogs maybe tantamount to the very grave offence criminal intimidation.

f)       Aggression to dogs counter productive: Last but not the least; any aggression or hostility that the dogs may be subjected to will only render them aggressive, and hostile to humans. They may then resort to snapping and biting in self defence. If the same happens, the human aggressors shall be the only to blame.

Please bear in mind that the Board (Animal Welfare Board of India) vide the present Circular, is merely setting out what is lawful, and what is unlawful, on the subject of treatment or mistreatment of pet dogs and street dogs.

Signed

Dr. R.M. Kharb, Maj. Gen. (Retd.), AVSM

Chairman, Animal Welfare Board of India

My Pain of being an abandoned dog!

This article is from us, we are the ones who are either living on the roads or in an Animal Shelter. We are those canine babies, who have been abandoned by one of you. You have taken advantage of us being ‘voiceless’. If we were able to speak, we could define or explain our pain. There are so many of us, but here is me. Hello my name is Nandini, this name was given to me by the staff at the Animal Shelter. I am going to tell my story, which is not a story but the bitter reality of my life.

My owner brought me to his house when I was just one month old. I used to feed on my mother’s milk, I should have been left with my mom till the time I was 45-50 days old, but this owner of mine was in a hurry to take me to his house, so he gave money to the breeder and bought me for Rs. 5000.

Now I was in his home, I used to cry because I missed my mom’s love, care and warmth but, they thought that I was hungry and offered me packed milk. I took that because I was hungry, but my body didn’t accept it and I became sick. The vet advised them to give me formulated powdered milk for small babies, they didn’t.

By now, I had forgotten the taste of my mother’s milk and had unconditionally accepted all of them as my family. My owner’s 7 years old son used to play with me a lot. As I was very young, I used to sleep most of the time, he used to come and wake me up to play, but I never got angry with him, because he was my friend and I was committed to live with them till my last breath.

His son and I, both were growing-up. I loved them as much as I can. When they used to go out for work or for roaming around, I waited for them at home. When they used to come back, I always pleased them, hugged them, and kissed them as if we are meeting after a long time. But slowly and slowly I realized as I turned 3 years old that the entire family had started losing interest in me. They rarely came to play with me and the duty of feeding me and taking me for my walks was also given to the servant. Most of the time the servant forgot to feed me or gave me the wrong diet, at the wrong time, but none at home cared. I still never complained and gave my loyal, pure love to all. But, I missed playing with them, walking with them, their touch of love, had I lost my charm in their eyes, I wondered!

Due to lack of proper care and good diets and walks, I became sick and developed skin eczema.  I started losing my hair, but then, instead of taking the vet’s advice or taking me to a vet’s clinic, they started ignoring me all the more and then, they all decided to leave me in a shelter. I overheard them saying that, “she will get everything that she needs, i.e. food, medicine, shelter etc. over there, i.e. in the Animal Shelter. For these people, the definition of everything is different; I am a living being and a social one at that, along with food and medicines, I also need love, care, a family and a home where I could feel safe.

I wondered what my fault was. I never made them suffer or leave them alone when they were suffering, feeling bad or when they were feeling lonely…I used to sit with  them, hear them out and did all I could to make them comfortable and make them smile all over again. But now, when I needed their love and some medical care, they dumped me!

The day I reached the Animal Shelter, I overheard the screams and cries of other dogs, many were weeping…I became scared, but with my family around me, I was confident that nothing bad will happen to me, may be they had got me here to get my skin infection treated and we will leave from there in a short while and go back home.

But that was not to be. I soon realized much to my distress that they were leaving me behind here. They handed my leash to one of the staffers at the Shelter, gave them some money and started walking away. I was confused, I was scared…I started barking, jumping and calling out to them, so that they would hear me, come back and take me with them. I was confused as to how can they forget me here…My family, my world was moving away from me, it was the end of everything for me. They started the car and went away…I was left behind ALONE, ABANDONED, CRYING…me the voiceless became even more voiceless. My tears couldn’t stop, my heart pained with sorrow. But there was no one who could understand my grief.

For that day, I was kept in a small cage, because the other dogs in the shelter were not ready to accept me and be friends with me so soon. The staff at the shelter offered me food but I didn’t take that. That night I spent with tear in my eyes and fear in my heart. The whole night I cried and was praying that somehow I will meet my owners again. The eczema problem was not in my hand, so why did they punish me for it, I continued to wonder. That night finished, the next morning I woke up and I was continuously staring at the door of the shelter that my owner will realize his fault, will miss me too and will come back to take me back to home. The day passed by waiting for my owner. Whenever I listened to a car horn, I raised my ears to listen to their voice but they didn’t come. That day I also didn’t take food, I was crying. Suddenly, I noticed the presence of other dogs around me; they told me that they all have stories similar to mine. Some were left behind because their owners had their jobs transferred to other cities, some were dumped because they had tumours or other health issues, some were thrown away here because they had behavioral problems (which could have been worked upon and corrected for good), some were left because the owner’s wife was now pregnant and some were even left here, because they didn’t grow up looking the way their owner expected them to…and a million more senseless reasons one could think of. We all shared our pain with each other and they made me realize that I am losing my health by staying hungry and waiting for such heartless people. I was so sad and depressed, but then, suddenly I heard something… a shelter member called me Nandini and also said to me, “Baby I do not know your real name but will love to call you Nandini”. I started adjusting myself over there, I got food twice a day but I hardly got a friend to play, after all, the staff at the shelter to look after other injured and accident hit dogs who make their way to the Hospital every day…though they all try their best, they cannot spare time to give individual attention and care to ‘abandoned and dumped’ dogs like me. The Vet at the Hospital checked on me, my medication for Eczema started and within a couple of weeks I got all my hair back but I did not get my owner back. I guess, they were not even bothered to check, whether I was dead or alive. On the weekend, some volunteers used to come from outside to feed us, spend some time with us but not to adopt us and take us home with them. I am not blaming anyone but I do want to ask you all, why do you keep us dogs as your pets, if you cannot commit yourself to look after us well for the short lives we have? Do you consider us as ‘objects’ that can be dumped in the bin, when you no longer need it? If you just wanted to pass time with a cuddly, furry creature, you could have best invested your money in buying yourself or your kid a stuff toy….next time, please buy toys and not us to pass your time with, you are no one to decide on our fate. We also want a family that is willing to make a lifelong commitment to look after us in our good and bad days.

I, Nandini………….. I survived in that shelter every day, with that pain of being abandoned, being ‘unwanted’ by those whom I loved. I was living with a hope that may be, someone amongst you will come forward to adopt me, love me, and give me a home and family of my own once again…but that never happened. Usually, we dogs can live for 12 to 14 years if we get love and care, but I died at the age of 4 years…I couldn’t live at the shelter beyond a few months, the pain was too much to bear…Yes, I am dead…I waited and waited, but did not get the love I yearned for.

I am no more but I wish after reading this article my other friends will be adopted from shelter.

Adopt us and never ever abandon.

Adopt, don’t buy, there are too many homeless animals like me around.

An Adoption Appeal for ‘Tiger’:

Now, if any one of you reading this has a heart to adopt this Golden coloured 5-6 year old healthy Male Labrador, who was recently dumped for no fault of his by his owner, please let us know by writing to contact@jaagruti.org

I am TIGER: an abandoned 5-6 year old Male Labrador ' - Anyone who can give me a home and a place in their hearts?

I am TIGER: an abandoned 5-6 year old Male Labrador ‘ – Anyone who can give me a home and a place in their hearts?

 

About the Authors*: This article was written by Nikhil & Jyoti; and first published in the 2nd Annual Issue of the Canis Welfare Pet Club’s souvenir Magazine

 

Noida Federation instructions to Resident Welfare Associations regarding lawful manner of dealing with street dogs

After the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon’s directive to Presidents of all Gurgaon-based Residential Welfare Associations (RWAs) to stop harassing people/residents who have pets and tend to street dogs, comes the below mentioned letter issued by Federation of Noida Resident Welfare Associations to all its member RWAs in Noida, apprising them on the lawful manner of dealing with street dogs and the people who tend to them, feed them, get them sterilized and vaccinated.

So, for all those of you who stay in Noida and are being harassed by your respective RWA for feeding and tending to street dogs, please take note of this important letter, download it from the link below and use it to fight your case for the animals you care for.

Download by clicking here Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding lawful manner of dealing with street dogs

Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 1 of the letter

Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 1 of the letter

Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 2 of the Letter

Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 2 of the Letter

Please also read:

Gurgaon Municipal Corporation’s Directive to Presidents of Residential Welfare Societies to stop harassing people who have pets and tend to street dogs

To all those of you who are being harassed by their neighbourhood for tending to animals….

Please remember that for the animals, if not for yourself, you need to be strong and fight this out.

While you can approach local animal welfare organisations or animal activists, but in the end, it is a fight you will have to fight on your own, for yourself and the animals you care for…

  • If talking to people and explaining them the below mentioned laws and constitutional provisions doesn’t help, then, whether you like it or you don’t, you need to approach the Police and file an F.I.R or Police Complaint against all the people who are harassing you, abusing you, threatening to kill/harm you/your property and the dogs/other animals you care for.
  • Be sure to mention full names and addresses of all the people who are harassing you and give complete true account of the matter, without exaggerating facts – take help of the points stated below to put your grievances and facts across and mention why you are seeking help from the Police and reporting this matter.
  • There is no law that prohibits feeding of street animals, and citizens who choose to do so are in fact performing a duty cast upon them by the Constitution of India. Persons, who are trying to interfere with their effort, or display aggression, can be held liable for having committed the offense described in the Indian Penal Code and criminal intimidation.
  • Moreover, as per Indian law, street dogs cannot be beaten or driven away. They can merely be sterilized in the manner envisaged in the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001(Rules under Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960), vaccinated, and then returned back to their original locations.
  • If your municipality is not doing the same, you can file a Police Complaint or FIR against the local Municipal Corporation for flouting the laws and rules mentioned above, which need to be complied with throughout the country, as PCA Act is a Central Act, i.e. it is applicable across the country and the local Police has been mandated with the responsibility of enforcing this act and reporting/booking violations/offenders.

Constitutional provisions:

  • Article 51A of the Constitutional Law of India, speaks about the duties of every citizen of India. One of these duties includes having compassion for living creatures (Article 51 A (g) of the Indian Constitution). Those who look after animals and other creatures of God are thus protected under the Constitution.

 

  • Article 19 of the Constitution of India, deals with right to freedom and in this freedom are included the right to profession, occupation, trade and business. Therefore, it means that every citizen has the right to occupation and if someone has taken the caring of animals as his occupation, it is legal and he has every right to carry on with his occupation.

Legal provisions:

In a Judgment passed by the Delhi Court, it has been stated that the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Municipal Authorities have in the guidelines issued by them specified the problem often faced by individuals and families who adopt and feed stray animals. The court says that it is necessary to bring into record that these individuals and families who adopt stray animals are doing a great service to humanity as they are acting in the aid and assistance of Municipal Authorities by providing these animals with food and shelter and also by getting them vaccinated and sterilized. Without assistance of such persons no local Municipal Authority can successfully carry out its ABC programme. The Court has proceeded to say that the local police and the municipal authorities are under obligation not only to encourage such adoption but also to ensure protection to such persons who come forward to take care of these animals specifically the community or neighbourhood dogs so that they are not subjected to any kind of cruelty, finally, the Court has said that every individual has the right to live his life in the manner he wants and it is necessary that the society and the community recognize it.

  • If you are a woman/girl who is being abused/harassed/threatened by neighbours/people around for being kind to animals, please also note that you can lodge F.I.Rs against these people Under Section 509 of Indian Penal Code (U/S 509 of IPC) – which is a cognizable offence.
  • Under the Govt. of India, Animal Birth Control Rules 2001 (drafted under the Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960), no sterilized dogs can be relocated from their area. As per five different High Court orders, sterilized dogs have to remain in their original areas. If the dog is not sterilized, the Society can simply ask an animal welfare organization to sterilize and vaccinate the dog. They cannot relocate them. Relocation is not permissible, as it would cause more problems such as an increase in dog bites as new dogs will move into the area who are unfamiliar with residents and therefore more likely to be hostile. All problems of stray animals have to be handled within the institutional framework available. No association, recognized or unrecognized, shall take recourse to any action regarding stray animals on their own, either themselves or through any person employed by them like security guards. While residents and Associations are free to address institutional agencies for redressal of grievances in this matter, no resident/association will interfere with the freedom of other residents in caring and attending animals.
  • Section 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 forbids the displacement of Animals from its natural environment into an environment that is hostile to it, where the animal may be injured/hurt/maimed or killed due to lack of food or fights with other animals. Also, please remember that Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 is a Central Act, i.e. it is applicable throughout the country and the powers to enforce this law have been given to the Local Police.
  • Additionally, Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code also provides for imprisonment and fine, in cases involving animal cruelty. Section 429 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860, a Central Government Act, reads as follows:

“Mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., of any value or any animal of the value of fifty rupees.– Whoever commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless, any elephant, camel, horse, mule, buffalo, bull, cow or ox, whatever may be the value thereof, of any other animal of the value of fifty rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment or either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.”

Following are some of the self-explanatory documents that one can look up and refer to:

1. A 2 page circular issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Training, on the aspect of street animal feeding and prohibits central government employees from harassing street dogs or those feeding/looking after them.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/public-grievances-circular-pg-1.jpg

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/public-grievances-circular-pg-2.jpg

2. The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/the-animal-birth-control-dogs-rules-2001.pdf

3. A directive issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India, constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests- provides immunity to animal feeders and restricts RWAs from harassing people tending to dogs.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/awbi-direction.pdf

4. M.C.D. (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) notification, showing the approach of the M.C.D. with regard to street animals, which is based on the law of the land.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/mcd-notices-toi-march-2009.jpg

5. A Times of India news report regarding a Delhi High Court direction to the police to protect persons who feed stray dogs.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/times-of-india-article-on-feeding.pdf

6. A Hindustan Times news report regarding the view taken by the Supreme Court regarding stray dogs.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/ht-article-24th-jan-supreme-court-stays-bombay-high-court-order.jpg

7. An order passed by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/addln-chief-metropolitan-magistrates-order-on-street-dogs-of-india.pdf

8. A Dossier of Indian Street Dog related laws and court rulingshttp://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/a-dossier-of-indian-street-dog-related-laws-and-court-rulings.pdf and Copies of other court judgments can be downloaded from http://www.strays.in/index.php/legal-precedence-faqs-judgements-court-cases-drafts/

9. Reporting a crime and lodging an F.I.R or Police Complaint-

http://jaagruti.org/2013/12/13/reporting-a-crime-all-about-lodging-an-f-i-r-with-the-police/

If you want awareness workshops held in your company or Institution on the subject of animal laws and welfare, for audience in any age-group, please write to us on contact@jaagruti.org

Reporting a Crime: All about lodging an F.I.R with the Police

This post is a much needed compilation we did using the information available on www.jaagore.com and www.ipaidabribe.com, so that people who wish to report animal-related crimes and/or are facing instances of criminal intimidation and harassment from neighbours/RWAs/fellow society people (meted out to those who fight for animal rights, feed/take care of neighbourhood dogs and animals) – can also learn the intricacies behind filing a complaint at the local Police Station, be it an FIR or Police Complaint.

*We thank http://www.jaagore.com and http://www.ipaidabribe.com for their exhaustive work and acknowledge their work and credit all information taken below, except for minor edits and additions done at a few places, to them.

How to file an F.I.R (First Information Report)

  • Technically an F.I.R refers to the information on the commission of an offence given to a police officer by the first informant. In other words, it is basically a complaint document that sets the provisions of the criminal law in motion.
  • To begin with, it is important to primarily understand the difference between Cognizable and Non-Cognizable offences. And F.I.R is filed for cognizable offences.
  • Under the Criminal Procedure Code, commonly known as CrPC, a cognizable offence allows the police to directly register an F.I.R and immediately begin investigation. The accused can also be arrested without a Warrant. Rape, murder, kidnapping and theft are examples of offences that fall into this category.
  • In a Non-Cognizable Offence, the police will require the permission of the court to register a case or investigate. The accused cannot be arrested without a Warrant and the offence is bailable. Examples of non-cognizable offences include criminal intimidation, trespassing, making a public nuisance of oneself, misappropriation of property, physical assault, forgery, causing simple hurt, and simple cheating.

The difference between an F.I.R and a Police Complaint OR the limitations behind lodging an F.I.R are as follows:

An F.I.R can only be filed for a cognizable crime. In the event someone is trying to file an F.I.R for a crime that falls in the non-cognisable category it is the duty of the police to listen to them, enter the matter in their daily register or dairy, give the person a signed copy of the entry made (as proof of the matter being recorded) and direct them to the closest or appropriate magistrate. The signed copy of the entry made by the police is free of cost and is a right to receive. The police may not investigate a complaint even if you file a FIR, when: (i) The case is not serious in nature; (ii) The police feel that there is not enough ground to investigate. However, the police must record the reasons for not conducting an investigation and in the latter case must also inform you. — [Section 157, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973]

Do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while filing a Police Complaint/F.I.R

Details to give when filing an F.I.R: If you are a victim or witness of a crime give clear descriptions of all that you experienced, saw or remember. If you are filing an FIR for a crime that you have second hand knowledge of, then report exactly what you were told or what you heard. Information should never be exaggerated or false. Important details to include are the date, time, location and a description of the culprits or people involved. The sequence of events that occurred and details of what each person did or said

What to do when the police refuse to file F.I.R:

If you are reporting a cognisable crime and the police refuse to register your FIR, you can make a complaint to a higher ranking officer such as the Superintendent of Police (SP)/SHO (Station House Officer of Local Police Station), the Deputy Inspector General (DIG)/ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police)/DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police) or the Inspector General of Police (IGP)/CP (Commissioner of Police).

You can also complain to the nearest judicial magistrate, who will order the police to register the FIR if deemed necessary. Ensure that you get a receipt of your complaint being registered. (This means a stamped receiving given by the authority on the photocopy of your complaint)

You can also…

  • Send your complaint in writing to the Superintendent of Police (SP)/SHO of the Local Police Station by Registered Post Acknowledgement Due (Regd. Post AD).
  • Make a written complaint to the concerned State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission that the police are not doing their duty of enforcing the law or that they are being negligent, biased or corrupt.

Things you must not do:

  • Never file a false complaint or give wrong information to the police. You can be prosecuted under law for giving wrong information or for misleading the police.—[Section 203, Indian Penal Code 1860]
  • Never exaggerate or distort facts.
  • Never make vague or unclear statements.

Process Flow of filing an F.I.R:

1. It must be filed immediately. If there is any delay, mention it in the form.

2. If given orally, it MUST be taken down in writing and explained to you by the officer in charge, at a Police Station within the jurisdiction of which the offence has taken place.

3. There should be four copies recorded simultaneously, with carbon sheets in place.

4. It must be recorded in first person. Do check in which language this needs to be done.

5. Make sure the officials’ attitude towards you is sympathetic and yours towards him/her is respectful.

6. Avoid complicated, technical words, terminologies and unnecessary details.

7. Try not to overwrite or score out words.

8. Ensure that the arrival/departure time is mentioned in the F.I.R and in the Daily Diary (DD) Register at the Police Station

9. It must contain authentic information, including these necessary bits of information:

- What information do you want to convey?
- In what capacity are you providing the information?
- Who is the perpetrator of the crime?
- Who has the crime been committed against – victim /complainant?
- When was it committed (time)?
- Where was it committed (specific place /locality/area)?
- Why do you think it was committed?
- Which way (actual process involved) was it committed?
- Were there any witnesses? (Names will be required here.)
- What were the losses? (Money /valuables/ possessions /physical damage etc.)
- What were the traces at the scene of the crime? (Weapons/evidence if any.)

10. After completion, you MUST carefully read the document and sign it.

11. It must be recorded by the officer in the book maintained for this purpose by the State Government.

12. You have the right to and must get a copy of it for your records.  You are not required to pay for the same.

13. You are not required by law to give an affidavit.

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Department / Organisation: Police Department

Contact person: Police helpline 100.

Location: Find your local police station within your police jurisdiction on the map.

Note: Police Station located nearest to you may NOT be within the police jurisdiction where you need to report the offence. Be informed of your area police station beforehand.

Infographic Process Flow:

The procedure of filing an FIR is prescribed in Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

Infographic Courtesy: jaagore.com

Infographic Courtesy: jaagore.com

Q and As about FIR

Who can lodge an F.I.R?

Any person who is aware about the offence can file an F.I.R. It is not compulsory that he should be an aggrieved person. Even a police officer can file an F.I.R. if he comes to know about any offence. The F.I.R. can be filed by various people like:

  • An aggrieved person.
  • A person who is aware about the facts of the crime.
  • A person who has seen a crime being committed.

2. When can I lodge an F.I.R?

You can lodge an F.I.R only in case of a cognizable offence.

cognizable offence is a criminal offence in which the police are empowered to register an F.I.R, investigate, and arrest an accused without a court issued warrant. Offences like murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, robbery, fraud, etc. are classified as cognizable offences.

non-cognizable offence is an offence in which the police can neither register an FIR, nor effect arrest without the express permission or directions from the court. Offences like simple hurt, verbal abuse, intimidation, defamation, misappropriation of property, physical assault, forgery, etc. are non-cognizable offences.

3. Where can I lodge an F.I.R?

To file an F.I.R, one has to go to the police station within the jurisdiction of which the cause of action arose or the offence took place.

4. How do I lodge an F.I.R?

  • To file an F.I.R, one has to go to the police station within the jurisdiction of which the cause of action arose or the offence took place.
  • Every piece of information relating to the commission of offence is to be given to the officer in-charge of the police station. If it is given orally to the officer, he shall reduce it to writing and read it over to the informant to confirm and verify the details.
  • Every such information has to be signed by the informant after which it is required to be recorded by the officer in a book maintained for this purpose as prescribed by the State Government.
  • The informant is entitled to receive a copy of the F.I.R free of cost.
  • If the officer in-charge of the police station refuses to record the information, you can send the substance of such information, in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police (SP) concerned. The SP is required to start the investigation himself or direct any other officer subordinate to him to start the investigation.

5. Do I have to pay for lodging an F.I.R?

No. You do not have to pay a single penny to lodge an F.I.R. It is free of cost.

6. What are the things I should ensure while the F.I.R is being lodged?

While lodging an F.I.R you must ensure the following:

  • There should be four copies being recorded simultaneously, with carbon sheets in place.
  • Language is important. It must be recorded in first person.
  • Try not to over write or score out.
  • Try to use simple words.
  • Ensure that the arrival / departure time is mentioned in the FIR and in the Daily Diary Register at the Police Station
  • Carefully read the document before signing.

7. What do I do if the police department does not consider my F.I.R?

If the officer in-charge of the police station refuses to record the information, you can send the substance of such information, in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police (SP) concerned. The SP is required to start the investigation himself or direct any other officer subordinate to him to start the investigation.

8. What happens to the F.I.R finally?

  • When there is sufficient evidence a CHALLAN is prepared.
  • When there is insufficient evidence, F.I.R is declared as UNNTRACEABLE.
  • When FIR is found to be false or is transferred to other Police Station on point of jurisdiction, it is declared as CANCELLED.
  • After registering the F.I.R the contents of the F.I.R cannot be changed. Only High Court can quash the F.I.R.

Please also see/refer to the following for more information on this subject:

The law on pet owners in apartments

The Hindu published the following article on the laws pet owners have to keep animals in their houses

With apartment complexes becoming the norm, it becomes important for pet owners to understand their rights and responsibilities, for the welfare of their pets and their neighbours. Residents sometimes find a letter taped to the notice board (on behalf of the Apartment Association) that says that pets are banned and that owners must either vacate or abandon their pets.

“This is tantamount to harassment, and utterly unlawful,”says Anjali Sharma, Advocate, practising at the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India, who is an Executive Committee Member of, and Legal Advisor to the Animal Welfare Board of India. “Apartment owners’ associations and residents’ welfare associations cannot ‘legislate’. They cannot take it upon themselves to issue ‘edicts’ and restrict rights available to citizens. There is no law enacted by Parliament or any State Legislature that ‘bans’ companion animals. At best, municipalities and local authorities can regulate, or insist on registration or licensing of pets. These high handed circulars and letters suddenly taped to notice boards are therefore illegal. By pressurizing people to abandon their pets in this manner, they actually compel them to violate the law, since Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, declares the same as being an offence.

She notes that consumer courts at Mumbai have at least on two occasions upheld the rights of residents faced with similar harassment, and observed that in the present times, pets are akin to children. Denying pet-owners the right to use elevators or common areas with their pets has been held to be deficiency in service on the part of these associations. She therefore urges pet-owners to stand by their companion animals in the face of such harassment, and refuse to ‘give them up’, or abandon them.

These rights, however, do come with duties. Pet-owners must earn the goodwill of neighbours by keeping their dogs on leash while in common areas and cleaning up after them if they soil the place. Sharma tells pet owners that being considerate is a must, and a basic courtesy. “Be reasonable”, is her simple, yet powerful advice to pet owners. “Exercise care. Ensure that their vaccinations are always up to date. And always walk your dog with a leash”. She signs off with the advice that being a responsible pet parent is important to ensure harmony in community living.

Make it a Safe and Happy Diwali…for you and animals on your street

High-decibel noise during festivals like Diwali can be very traumatic for animals. Children think its fun to throw crackers at them and watch the poor animals suffer. Parents should prevent kids from doing this.

Here are 10 tips that pet owners, animal lovers and concerned citizens can practise, to lessen the trauma for pets and street animals. (Read points 1 to 3, if not all ten to help make a difference to the planet and street animals this Diwali). We don’t burn crackers and never will, to know why, please click and read here..

 

Diwali Poster

1. Pledge: An end to bursting firecrackers. What sounds loud to the human ear becomes four times louder to a dog and even more to a cat, so, you can imagine how loud the sound of a Diwali firecracker is to them. Even birds abandon their nests due to fear.

2. Tag: Pet owners and street dog carers should collar and tag the dogs with their names and contact details. If they get lost, it would be easier for the finder to trace their owner/caretaker.

3. Temporary refuge and tags for street dogs:

Street animals bear a huge brunt, as they are more susceptible to burn injuries due to the bombs and rockets. If it is difficult for street animal carers to give refuge to the street dogs that are petrified during Diwali, it would be good to have a temporary tag with your telephone number put on it. Street dogs cover long distances out of their territory and run helter-skelter or go into hiding. People, who notice a new dog in their area, can then call the street animal-carer because of the tag.

4. Don’t Walk: Pet owners who know that their pet is petrified of crackers should even go to the extent of not walking them outside the house during this period.

5. Give them company: Don’t leave them alone at home during Diwali. Having someone around, who they know, will lessen if not eliminate the
trauma.

6. Distract: Animal behaviourists advise that pet owners should distract their pets by playing with them. Loud music that is soothing might help drown out the firecracker noise.

7. Keep Away: Don’t take or allow your pets to wander near the site where firecrackers are being burst or even near used fireworks/remnants as they retain dangerous chemicals and may be poisonous if ingested by the pets.

8. Medicate: There are Homeopathic and Bach flower remedies available to reduce the trauma faced by animals during Diwali. You can ask your homeopath/veterinarian for details about the remedy/dosage. Don’t self-medicate.

9. Report: Any firecracker-inflicted cruelty to animals or any lost pets wearing tags to the SPCA/animal NGOs in your city.

10. Keep: Emergency telephone numbers of your veterinarian and animal welfare organisations handy.

(Thank you: This post is courtesy Mid Day and the images used have been shared by PAWS Thane.)