Over the past many months, Jaagruti’s helpline has been inundated with calls and queries from people across many major Indian cities, like Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore and other metros where RWAs or Residential Welfare Associations that are formed in various societies have come up with ‘no pet clauses’ and are forcing residents therein to abandon their pets! This post is to apprise you all that ‘RWAs cannot come with such clauses which are both unconstitutional and unlawful.
Please click on the link below to download the notice that was sent to a society in Gurgaon sometime back by a team of well-respected lawyers. If you are facing a similar issue, then take guidance from the text mentioned therein and with the help of a competent advocate/law firm/your very own lawyer friends – get a similar notice drafted and get it sent across to the Office Bearers in your Housing Society. If they don’t get the point on reading your notice, drag them to the Consumer Courts. Remember that all those who have taken this step have won the case and so have their pets and dogs!
Also, read the below pasted Times of India article dated 24th May 2012 and spread it around!
Housing societies can’t prohibit pets, say legal eagles
By Journalist named Swati Deshpande
MUMBAI: Pet owners need not worry. Senior advocates say that housing societies cannot introduce by-laws to prohibit residents from keeping pets in their flats.The Maharashtra Cooperative Housing Societies Act does not prohibit members from keeping pets and no society can pass by-laws to ban pets or families with pets from society premises.
Mulraj Shah, a lawyer, says a cooperative housing society may-by majority vote- make a by-law against pet ownership, but that is only on the valid grounds of continuous nuisance created by such pets. Even such a resolution may not be binding on occupants as it would have to be tested for legality in court, said a constitutional law expert practising at Bombay high court.
In the past, courts have ruled in favour of pet owners. A housing society in Navi Mumbai was fined for having restrained a family pet from using the lift. The Thane consumer court in 2008 imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 and held that the society’s decision to prevent pets from using the lift without any valid reason amounted to “deficiency in service”. A family residing in a housing society is a “consumer” under the law.
In another important ruling in December 2010, a consumer forum in Mumbai Central ordered a housing society in Mahim to stop charging a family an additional Rs 500 for each of its pet dogs, which it said was illegal and directed that the amounts already collected be returned. Societies have a right to make rules for the benefit of its members but the law has to be reasonable and not impinge an individual’s fundamental freedoms and right to life, said lawyers.