Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme/Street Dog Sterilization, Animal Laws of India, Be the Change, Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Series, Games people play, Information that empowers!, Street Dogs of India, Take Action!

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.

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

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

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

https://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.

https://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.

https://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.

https://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.

https://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 https://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 rulingshttps://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-

https://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

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme/Street Dog Sterilization, Animal Laws of India, Animals, Be the Change, Do you know?, Do-it-Yourself (DIY)Series: Animal Rescue and Treatment, Information that empowers!, News Reports, Street Dogs of India

Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Series-4: A Dossier of Indian Street Dog related laws and court rulings- Read, Print and Share widely

To all those who feed and take care of their neighbourhood street dogs in India, we have one request. Don’t feel weak. The laws are on your side and also in favour of the street dogs you care for.

In this post, we are sharing with you one comprehensive document that compiles all the laws, news-clippings and court orders/rulings, pertaining to street dogs

Please download this document by clicking here: A Dossier of Indian Street Dog related laws and court rulings

Save it, take print-outs and read it well.

These are updated laws, rules, orders pertaining to DOGS, their feeding and other rights. Most dog lovers don’t bother to read them and end up getting harassed while the law is strong and clear. Please keep a copy ready and if possible submit one copy in your local police station and the RWA, so unfortunate encounters can be averted beforehand. 

A point wise synopsis is also written in the beginning of this document.

We thank Citizens for Animal Rights for their effort in compiling this document and sharing the same with us. By posting it here, we are sharing it further and hope you all will share it widely too and feel empowered.

Remember: Your responsibility however doesn’t end with just feeding them, please also ensure that these dogs you care for are sterilized and vaccinated…since you are friendly with them, can touch them, it is much easier for you to collaborate with the NGO run Animal Hospital (that runs the local Municipality supported ‘Animal Birth Control’ Programme for street dogs) near your home to help undertake the sterilization of these dogs, it is just a one time exercise and will prevent you the agony of seeing pups dying (of illnesses and car accidents) in front of your eyes ever so frequently.

Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Series-2: Educating your Residential Society on the scientific and lawful manner of dealing with street dogs

This template letter on Google Docs is kind courtesy of the Voice of Stray Dogs, Bangalore and makes for a good resource material for those of you trying to educate their own residential societies (RWAs i.e. Resident Welfare Associations) on the best possible legally correct, scientific and humane way of dealing with the ‘subject’ of street dogs in their colonies.

How to do this yourself?

Firstly, read these two articles to best understand the Rights of Street Dogs in India and the Delhi High Court rulings on the subject of feeding street Dogs, then save the images and the PDF Files embedded in these articles on to your computer, take a print out of these saved files and attach it as annexures to the above letter that you would draft and address to the concerned person in your RWA, seal the letter and send it across through courier or registered post, keep a photocopy of the same set with you. Be strong and fight it out intelligently, the laws are on your side and the dogs, just use your wisdom and intellect to drive the point across to the ‘uninformed’.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the above subject (kind courtesy of People for Animals):

Q) Can people who feed animals in their areas be stopped by the RWAs or Societies or neighbours under the law ?

A) 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. So the animal lover is protected under the Constitution.

Article 19 of the Constitution of India, deals with right to freedom and in this freedom comes 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.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India states the right to personal life and liberty. Now this is the very vast right. If someone wants to feed dogs and provides shelter to the dogs, he has every liberty to do so. He has this right to liberty that the law provides to every citizen of India.

But, above every law and rights, there is a natural right too, which is a universal right, that is inherent in the nature of ethics and contingent on human actions or beliefs. It is the right that is claimed to exist even when it is not enforced by the government or society as a whole. It is the right of the individual and considered beyond the authority of a government or international body to dismiss. Therefore, if there are any rights at all, there must be right to liberty, for all the others depend on this. And, loving, caring and feeding and giving shelter to dogs, definitely is a natural right of any individual.

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 the individuals and families who adopts stray animals and feed them and come to the assistance of such persons. 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 the 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 programs. The court has went on to say that the local police and the municipal authorities are under the obligation not only to encourage such adoption but also to ensure that 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.

And finally, the court has said that every individual has a right to live his life in the manner he wants and it is necessary that the society and the community recognizes it.

Q) Can an RWA/Society or any individual pick up the dogs in a colony that are sterilized and vaccinated and throw them away somewhere

A) Under the Government of India Animal Birth Control rules 2001 , no sterilized dogs can be relocated  from their area. Under 5 High Court orders , sterilized dogs have to be in their original areas. Even if the dog is not sterilized , the Society can simply ask an animal welfare organization to sterilize and vaccinate the dog. They cannot relocate him. Relocation is not permissible as it would cause more problems such as increase of dog bites as dogs are territorial by nature and fight to retain their areas keeping out other dogs.
Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animal Laws of India, Animals, Be the Change, Do you know?, Games people play, Information that empowers!, News Reports, Pets

Residential Societies can’t ban people from having Pet Animals

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!

Click, Download and Read: Notice issued by respected law firm in Delhi to Kanchanjunga Coop.Group Housing Society in Gurgaon that was asking residents to abandon their pets

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.

Posted in Animal Laws of India, Animals, Games people play, Information that empowers!, Inspiration, News Reports, Stories from Ground Zero, Street Dogs of India, Take Action!

“Feeding stray dogs is not a crime”: Mumbai Court clears duo arrested, humiliated for feeding dogs

Today’s Mumbai  Mirror reports this heartening news, as reported by their correspondent Yogesh Sadhwani:

Court clears duo arrested, humiliated for feeding dogs
Sanjeev Dighe (pictured) and Yatin Mhatre were paraded around, ostensibly to show other residents what happened to people who fed strays (Courtesy Mumbai Mirror_2nd April 2012)

Two animal lovers from Thane, who were arrested and humiliated two years ago after a stray dog they used to feed allegedly bit a resident, have finally been acquitted, with a magistrate court ruling that feeding strays was not a crime.

The order provides welcome relief for animal lovers in the city, many of whom are pulled up by their housing societies for taking care of strays. Only recently, well-known director Partho Ghosh had a quarrel with his society management when he was fined Rs 1000 in his maintenance bill for feeding two stray dogs. His family, incidentally, had been taking care of them since they were pups.

This order is only the first victory for Sanjeev Dighe and Yatin Mhatre, who are fighting a separate case in High Court against the State and the police for handcuffing them and parading them around their society. In this, they are being represented by Mahesh Jethmalani and have the backing of, among others, Maneka Gandhi.

For Dighe, a commercial artist, and Mhatre – both residents of Lok Puram complex in Thane – the nightmare started on September 20, 2009. The duo had been feeding strays in their locality for several years, something that had led to many altercations with society members. Dighe says the residents believed this would lead to an increase in the stray dog population in the area.

That night, Dighe was getting ready to go out and feed the strays around 10.45 pm when a posse of cops arrived in a private vehicle and asked him to accompany them to Vartak Nagar Police Station. Mhatre accompanied him there, and a few hours later, the duo were booked under Section 289 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with animals in a particular person’s care attacking someone.

The next morning, both were handcuffed and taken to their society, where they were paraded around, ostensibly to show other residents what happened to people who fed strays. They were then taken to a holiday court, which released them on bail.

In a recent order, Jaishree Poonawala, judicial magistrate first class, remarked that “feeding stray dogs is not a crime”, adding that strays were not the same as pets and certainly not the sole responsibility of those who feed them.

“After our arrest, Maneka Gandhi personally got involved and helped us file the petition in HC through Mahesh Jethmalani,” said Dighe.

This order itself has come as a huge relief to Mhatre and Dighe. “Finally justice has prevailed. Several people like me are often victimised by residents who do not like others feeding strays. We hope this order will help others like us,” said Dighe.

Ajay Marathe, a noted animal rights activist, pointed out that incidents of animal lovers being victimised were common in Mumbai. “Those who feed dogs in their area are treated badly. Most residents are against such feeding and come up with random rules to stop them,” said Marathe.

RK Joshi, convener of Committee to Monitor Animal Welfare Laws in Maharashtra, has recently written to the BMC commissioner highlighting the issue of societies trying to get rid of stray dogs.

He has pointed out that years after Bombay High Court laid down the guidelines for dealing with stray dogs – the HC has put an emphasis on animal birth control and sterilisation – people continued to harass dogs and animal lovers.

“There is growing tendency in housing societies not to permit stray dogs on the society premises or even in the vicinity. There have been instances when dogs are brutally assaulted by the society members or the watchmen,” the letter states, adding that instances of animal lovers being assaulted were common.

The letter urges the commissioner, who is also the chairman of the Monitoring Committee, to urgently look at these issues and ensure that animal lovers and dogs were not harassed.

~~

Ms. Anjali Sharma, Advocate and Legal Advisor to the Animal Welfare Board of India, says that what is extremely significant is this part: “In a recent order, Jaishree Poonawala, judicial magistrate first class, remarked that “feeding stray dogs is not a crime”, adding that strays were not the same as pets and certainly not the sole responsibility of those who feed them.”

This is, as Ms. Sharma explains, because these men had been arrested under Section 289 of the Indian Penal Code – ‘negligent conduct with respect to an animal’, after a stray they were feeding bit a resident of the locality. Section 289 applies to pet dogs, but there has been an increasing attempt on the part of many, including police, R.W.A.s, etc. to bring feeding of strays, and any aggression the strays may show if provoked, within the ambit of this Section.

Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animal Laws of India, Animal Sacrifice, Animals, Be the Change, Do you know?, Information that empowers!, Street Dogs of India, Take Action!

Animal Abuse-from F.I.R to Jail

We at Jaagruti had attended the ‘India for Animals’ 2011 conference held at Chennai from 29-31 January 2011, with the objective of sharing our learnings from the conference with the readers of this website as well as the many people who keep searching the internet for information on such topics and often end up being disappointed with the paucity of easily understandable information available online on subjects of animal welfare and laws for the common man who cares for animals on the street and empathizes with the suffering of animals. The information presented below will be useful for reporting cases and lodging F.I.Rs with police on issues other than animal abuse as well.

Mr. Ajay Marathe, an RTI Activist from Mumbai shares this important brochure titled, “First Information Report (F.I.R) and YOU’ prepared by the Commonwealth Human Rights initiative which provides answers to all the questions related to F.I.R’s that may cross our mind often. You can download this brochure by clicking here.

Below is a handout shared by Ms. Anjali Sharma (Advocate, Legal advisor and board member, Animal Welfare Board of India) and Inspector Ajaib Singh of Punjab Police in the workshop they had held on Day 2 of this conference titled, “Animal Abuse-F.I.R se Jail tak

WHAT IS AN FIR, AND WHO CAN LODGE AN FIR?

First Information Repot (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of cognizable offence.  It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence, or by someone on his/her behalf.  Any one who knows about the commission of a cognizable offence, including a police officer who comes to know about the same, can lodge an FIR.

WHAT IS A COGNIZABLE OFFENCE?

A cognizable offence is one for which the police are authorized to start investigation on their own, and do not require any order from the court to do so. They are authorized to arrest without warrant.

WHAT IS A NON-COGNIZABLE OFFENCE?

A non-cognizable offence is an offence in which a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant.  The police cannot investigate such an offence without the court’s permission.

THE POLICE MAY NOT INVESTIGATE A COMPLAINT AND REGISTER FIR IF:-

(i)              The case, in the opinion of the officer in charge of a police station, is not of serious nature;

(ii)            The police feel that there is not enough ground to investigate.

However, the police must record reasons for not conducting an investigation, and in the latter case, must also inform the complainant.

HOW SHOULD YOU GO ABOUT LODGING AN FIR?

i)                Inform the officer in charge of the concerned police station, either orally, or in writing, regarding the commission of the offence ;

ii)              When information about the commission of a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down ;

iii)            It is your right as the person giving information regarding the commission of an offence to demand that the information recorded by the police be read over to you.

iv)             You should sign the report only after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details given by you.

v)               Always ask for a copy of the FIR, since it your right to get it free of cost.

WHAT SHOULD YOU MENTION IN YOUR COMPLAINT THAT YOU WANT REGISTERED AS AN FIR?

  • Your name and address;
  • Date, and time and the location at which the incident that you wish to report about, occurred;
  • An accurate description of the incident that you wish to report;
  • Names and descriptions of the persons involved in the incident.

WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOUR FIR IS NOT REGISTERED?

  • You can meet the Superintendent of Police or other higher officers like Deputy Inspector General of Police or Inspector General of Police, and bring your complaint to their notice.
  • You can send your complaint in writing and by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned.  If the Superintendent of Police is satisfied with your complaint, he shall either investigate the case himself or order an investigation to be made.
  • You can file a private complaint before the court having jurisdiction.

——–             ——–             ——–             ——–

THE POLICE ACT, 1861

An Act for the Regulation of Police

Preamble: – WHEREAS it is expedient to re-organise the police and to make it a more efficient instrument for the prevention and detection of crime; It is enacted as follows: –

——–

34. Punishment for certain offences on roads, etc:- Powers of police officers.-

Any person who, on any road or in any 2[open place or] street or thoroughfare within the limits of any town to which this section shall be specially extended by the State-Government, commits any of the following offences, to the obstruction, inconvenience, annoyance, risk, danger of damage of the 3[ residents or passengers] shall, on conviction before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty rupees, or to imprisonment 4[with or without hard labour] not exceeding eight days; and it shall be lawful for any police officer to take into custody; without a warrant, any person who, within his view, commitsany of such offences namely :-

First-Slaughtering cattle, Curious riding, etc:- Any person who slaughters any cattle or cleans any carcass; any person who rides or drives any cattle recklessly or furiously, or trains or breaks any horse or other cattle;

Second-Cruelty to animal:- Any person who wantonly or cruelly beats, abuses or tortures any animal; .

——–             ——–             ——–             ——–             ——–             ——–

THE DELHI POLICE ACT, 1978

An Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to the regulation of the police in the Union territory of Delhi.

It is to be noted that the Delhi Police act has a special chapter, i.e Chapter 9 devoted to empowering officials of Delhi Police with special powers over and above those mentioned in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 to enforce this act further

——–

CHAPTER IX (DELHI POLICE ACT): Special Powers under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960

73. Powers with regard to offences under Act 59 or 1960. (1) When in respect of an animal an offence punishable under sub-section (1) of Sec. 11 or Sec. 12 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 has been committed, when there is a reasonable ground for suspecting that such offence has been committed, a police officer may-

(a) take the animal to the Metropolitan Magistrate, or

(b) if the accused person so requires, take the animal to a veterinary officer specified by general or special order by the Administrator in this behalf:

Provided that the police officer may, instead of taking the animal to a veterinary officer, take the animal for detention in a dispensary, or in any suitable place approved by the Administrator by general or special order and the animal shall thereupon be detained there until its production before a Metropolitan Magistrate, or

(c) take the animal to an infirmary appointed under Sec. 35 of the said Act for treatment and detention thereto, pending direction of a Magistrate under sub-section (2) of that section, or

(d) when the animal is in such physical condition that it cannot be taken to a veterinary officer or a Metropolitan Magistrate, draw up a report of the condition of the animal in the presence of two or more respectable persons describing such wound, sores, fractures, bruises, or other marks of injury as may be found on the body of the animal:

Provided that the police officer may take the animal for detention in a dispensary or any suitable place approved by the Administrator by general or special order and the animal shall thereupon be detained there until its produce before a Metropolitan Magistrate.

(2) Where an animal is detained in a dispensary, infirmary or other place under sub-section (1), the animal shall be produced before a Metropolitan magistrate with the least possible delay and in any case within a period not exceeding three days from the date on which it was so detained.

——–

77. Power of police officer to unsaddle animal or to unload it. When a police officer in good faith suspects that any animal being employed, in any work or labour is, by reason of any sore, unfit to be so employed, he may require the  person  in  charge  of  such  animal  to

unsaddle or unload it for the purpose of ascertaining whether any sore exists and. if any person refuses to do so, such police officer may himself unsaddle or unload the animal or may cause the same to be unsaddled or unloaded.

78. Arrest without warrant in case of certain offences under Act 59 of 1960. Any police officer may arrest, without a warrant from a Magistrate, any person committing in his presence any offence punishable under clauses (a) to (m) (both inclusive) of sub-section (1) of Sec. 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

MADRAS CITY POLICE ACT, 1888

An Act to regulate the Police of the City of Madras.

——–

Section 24 – Police Officers and Agent of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals may arrest without warrant in view of offence

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other Law for the time being in force :-

(a) any offence made punishable by Sections 45, 46, 49-A, 72 or 75 shall be cognizable.

(b) any Police Officer may arrest without a warrant any person committing in his view any offence made punishable by this Act.

(2) Any agent of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who is specially empowered by the State Government in that behalf may arrest without a warrant any person committing in his view any offence punishable under Section 53.

(3) The agent shall have power to release any person so arrested on his executing a bond with or without sureties, for his appearance before a Magistrate if and when required.

——–

Section 53 – Penalty for cruelty to animals

Whoever cruelly beats, ill-treats or tortures any animal, or causes any animal to be cruelly beaten, ill-treated or tortured, shall be liable on conviction to fine not exceeding one hundred rupees or to imprisonment, not exceeding three months, or to both.

——–             ——–             ——–             ——–             ——–             ——–

 

THE INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860

——–

Mischief by killing or maiming animal of the value of ten rupees.

428. Mischief by killing or maiming animal of the value of ten rupees.-Whoever commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless any animals or animal of the value of the ten rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Classification of Offence:- The offence under this section is cognizable, bailable, compoundable and triable by any Magistrate.

Mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., of any value or any animal of the value of fifty rupees.

429. 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.

Classification of Offence:- The offence under this section is cognizable, bailable, compoundable and triable by Magistrate of the first class.

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Negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance.

284. Negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance.–

Whoever does, with any poisonous substance, any act in a manner so rash or negligent as to endanger human life, or to be likely to cause hurt or injury to any person, or knowingly or negligently omits to take such order with any poisonous substance in his possession as is sufficient to guard against probable danger to human life from such poisonous substance, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Classification of Offence:- The offence under this section is cognizable, bailable, triable by any Magistrate, and non-compoundable.

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THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT, 1960

Section 11. Treating animals cruelly : (1) If any person

(a) beats, kicks, over-rides, over-drives, over-loads, tortures or otherwise treats any animal so as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering or causes, or being the owner permits, any animal to be so treated; or

(b) 13(employs in any work or labour or for any purpose any animal which, by reason of its age or any disease) infirmity; wound, sore or other cause, is unfit to be so employed or, being the owner, permits any such unfit animal to be employed; or

(c) wilfully and unreasonably administers any injurious drug or injurious substance to 14(any animal) or wilfully and unreasonably causes or attempts tocause any such drug or substance to be taken by 15(any animal;) or

(d) conveys or carries, whether in or upon any vehicle or not, any animal in such a manner or position as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering; or

(e) keeps or confines any animal in any -cage or other receptacle which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement; or

(f) keeps for an unreasonable time any animal chained or tethered upon an unreasonably short or unreasonably heavy chain or cord; or

(g) being the owner, neglects to exercise or cause to be exercised reasonably any dog habitually chained up or kept in close confinement; or

(h) being the owner of (any animal) fails to provide such animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter; or

(i) without reasonable cause, abandons any animal in circumstances which tender it likely that it will suffer pain by reason of starvation thirst; or

(j) wilfully permits any animal, of which he is the owner, to go at large in any street, while the animal is affected with contagious or infectious disease or, without reasonable excuse permits any diseased or disabled animal, of which he is the owner, to die in any street; or

(k) offers for sale or without reasonable cause, has in his possession any animal which is suffering pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other illtreatment; or

(1) mutilates any animal or kills any animal (including stray dogs) by using the method of strychnine injections, in the heart or in any other unnecessarily cruel manner or;

(m) solely with a view to providing entertainment

(i) confines or causes to be confined any animal (including tying of an animal as a bait in a tiger or other sanctuary) so as to make it an object or prey for any other animal; or

(n) organises, keeps uses or acts in the management or, any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or permits or offers any place to be so used or receives money for the admission of any other person to any place kept or used for any such purposes; or

(o) promotes or takes part in any shooting match or competition wherein animals are released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting:

he shall be punishable 19(in the case of a first offence, with fine which shall not be less than ten rupees but which may extend to fifty rupees and in the case of a second or subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous offence, with fine which shall not be less than twenty-five rupees but which may extend, to one hundred rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend, to three months, or with both.

(2) For the purposes of section (1) an owner shall be deemed to have committed an offence if he has failed to exercise reasonable care and supervision with a view to the prevention of such offence;

Provided that where an owner is convicted permitting cruelty by reason only of having failed to exercise such care and supervision, he shall not be liable to imprisonment without the option of a fine.

(3) Nothing in this section shall apply to –

(a) the dehorning of cattle, or the castration or branding or nose roping of any animal in the prescribed manner, or

(b) the destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers by such other methods as may be prescribed, or (Note from ‘Jaagruti’: nothing is prescribed on this front under any laws or directives, humane sterilization of dogs is the only method advocated to control dog population and euthanasia can be administered to terminally ill and incurable animals only)

(c) the extermination or destruction of any animal under the authority of any law for the time being in force; or

(d) any matter dealt with in Chapter IV; or

(e) the commission or omission of any act in the course of the destruction or the preparation for destruction of any animal as food for mankind unless such destruction or preparation was accompanied by the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.

12. Penalty for practising phooka or doom dev : If any persons upon any cow or other milch animal the operation called practising phooka or doom dev or any other operation (including injection of any or doom dev. substance) to improve lactation which is injurious to the health of the animal or permits such operation being performed upon any such animal in his possession or under his control, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with both, and the animal on which the operation was performed shall be forfeited to the Government.

——–

28. Saving as respects manner of killing prescribed by religion : Nothing contained in this Act shall render it an offence to kill any animal in a manner required by the religion of any community.

——–

38. Power to make rules.

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(3) If any person contravenes, or abets the contravention of, any rules made under this section, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with both.

 

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TRANSPORT OF ANIMALS, RULES, 1978

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (h) of sub-section (2) of Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (59 of 1960); the Central Government hereby makes the following rules, the same having been previously published as required by the said Section, namely :

——–

 

2. Definitions : In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires–

(a)       qualified veterinary surgeon means one who holds a diploma or a degree of a recognized veterinary college.

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96. Issue of certificate before transportation

(1) A valid certificate issued by an officer or any person or Animal Welfare Organisation duly recognised and authorised for this purpose by the Animal Welfare Board of India or the Central Government shall be procured by any person making transport of any animal before transportation of such animal verifying that all the relevant Central and State Acts, rules and orders pertaining to the said animals including the rules relating to transport of such animals have been duly complied with and that the animal is not being transported for any purpose contrary to the provision of any law.

(2) In the absence of such certificate, the carrier shall refuse to accept the consignment for transport.

97. Cancellation of permit or authorisation for transport

(1) In the event of contravention or non compliance of any of the rules contained in these rule for transport of animals, if it is pointed out in writing by any officer or persons or Animal Welfare Organisations authorised for this purpose by the Animal Welfare Board of India or the Central Government, then, any permit or authorisation issued for such transport shall be immediately cancelled by the concerned authority and it shall be the duty of the police to stop the further transport even from the intermediary station and proceed against the said offenders and deal with the animals in accordance with law.

(2) The custody of the animals immediately after unloading from the rail wagons, truck or any other vehicle shall be given to the authorised Animal Welfare Organisation if available, till the competent authority or the magistrate having jurisdiction decides about their care and upkeep.

98. General conditions of transport

(1) Animals to be transported shall be healthy and in good condition and such animals shall be examined by a veterinary doctor for freedom from infectious diseases and their fitness to undertake the journey; provided that the nature and duration of the proposed journey shall be taken into account while deciding upon the degree of fitness.

(2) An animal which is unfit for transport shall not be transported and the animals who are new born, diseased, blind emaciated, lame, fatigued or having given birth during the preceding seventy two hours or likely to give birth during transport shall not be transported.

(3) Pregnant and very young animals shall not be mixed with other animals during transport.

(4) Different classes of animals shall be kept separately during transport.

(5) Diseased animals, whenever transported for treatment, shall not be mixed with other animals

(6) Troublesome animals shall be given tranquilisers before loading during transport.

(7) Animals shall be transported in their on-farm social groups (established atleast one week prior to journey).

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More articles on this subject and Animal laws of India can be accessed under the following category of posts on Jaagruti


Posted in Animal Laws of India, Animals, Be the Change, Games people play, General/Animals, Information that empowers!, Inspiration, Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, News Reports, Pets, Relationships

Dogs are family, can use lifts for free, rules court

In August, this year when we at ‘Jaagruti’ received a call from the Gulati family in Faridabad alerting us to the fact that their colony RWA was disallowing them to take their dog ‘Pixie’ in the building lift, it prompted us to do some research on such cases in India, following which we had come out with this article explaining how people could act in such cases.

Yesterday, however brought good news to many a residents fighting this battle for their dogs with their colony RWAs with the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum at Mumbai giving a judgement in favour of the D’Souza family and saying that, “Dogs are part of family, and they can use lifts for free”

Please read the article below in Times of India dated 30th November 2010

(Times of India_30th November 2010)

The below story Courtesy: Anand Holla and Mumbai Mirror gives more details on this ruling of the court.

Dogs are family, can use lifts for free, rules court

This judgment by a Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum at Mumbai will help make life much easier for pet owners in multi-storeyed apartment complexes facing harassment from their RWAs regarding use of lifts by pets.

Mahim society asked to stop charging residents for letting pets use building elevators. Consumer forum says if milkmen can use it, so can dogs

The status of dogs in housing societies have been elevated. In a judgment that will set a precedent for housing societies on how to treat pets, the Central Mumbai Consumer Redressal Forum has rapped a Mahim society for charging one of its member Rs 500 for each of his two dogs using the elevator.

The D’Souzas had been paying Rs 500 a month so their dog Barney could use the lift

Noting that pets are members of the modern, urban family, the forum ruled there is no reason why pets can’t use elevators when outsiders, including service providers such as milkmen and vendors, have access to the facility without any charges.

The family in question — the D’Souzas — resides on the 10th floor of Our Lady Of Velankanni And Perpetual Succour society. The D’Souzas, 58-year-old Allwyn and Eleanor, 52, were shocked by the resolution passed during the society’s general body on August 10, 2008, charging Rs 500 per month for each pet using the lifts. The move hit the couple hard as they would use the elevator to take their pet dogs Barney, a labrador, and Dash, a mongrel, for a daily walk.

When the family protested, the society management justified the decision by saying the pets cause “nuisance due to the stench and threat, causing inconvenience to the members” and that “extra electricity (was) consumed due to unnecessary trips by the lift because of the dogs,” among other factors.

The D’Souzas were left to fend for themselves as the other family in their building that had a pet stayed on the third floor and took to stairs after the diktat. Challenging the society’s decision, Allwyn D’Souza moved the consumer forum while continuing to pay Rs 1,000 every month “under protest”, along with maintenance bills.

D’Souza’s lawyers Udav Wavikar and Rashmi Manne contended before the forum that pets are pampered and loved as much as any other family member, and hence, should be considered part of the family. Invoking religion and mythology, the lawyers said a dog is considered an incarnation of a deity in Maharashtrian culture.

The lawyers further argued that forcing dogs up and down 10 floors amounts to sheer cruelty. To bolster his case, Allwyn collected signatures of society residents to attest that they had no complaints against his dogs. The society, however, said the dogs dirtied lifts by either urinating in them or soiling them, and there was the danger of them biting other residents. The society also argued that dogs are not members of the D’Souza family, and the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act doesn’t include them in the bracket of family members. It claimed the forum had no jurisdiction to hear the complaint.

However, the bench of Nalin Majithia and Bhavna Pisaal observed last week, “We don’t find the society’s view correct. The D’Souzas pay all normal charges and to charge them an extra Rs 500 towards each dog is illegal, and is an instance of unfair trade practice. In Indian culture, dogs are common pets and usually treated as lovingly as other members of the family.”

The forum noted that no resident had ever taken any objection to D’Souzas’ pets. “In a populous city like Mumbai, there is always a shortage of space and multi-storeyed buildings are fast filling up the landscape. Several outsiders such as milkmen, newspaper and vegetable vendors, laundrymen, sweepers, etc, use the building lifts on a daily basis. In such a scenario, the society’s decision to levy charges on residents’ pets for lifts usage is inappropriate,” the forum held.

Ordering the society to return the entire amount it has collected from the D’Souzas along with nine per cent interest and Rs 5,500 towards mental and physical torture and legal costs, the forum held, “The society has indulged in unfair trade practices and it is incorrect on their part to charge the D’Souzas.”

From October 2008 till September 2010, D’Souza paid “dog fees” to the society. Allwyn said, “Our dogs were kept absolutely clean and healthy. We would take them out only twice a day and they never misbehaved with anybody, nor dirtied the lift or the society premises. Some members of the society passed this order only to harass us.” Happy with the order, he said, “This will come as a relief to many residents who are similarly harassed over their pets.”

Lawyer Wavikar said, “If pets dirty the premises, their owners should be made to clean up the place. However, charging residents for keeping pets is completely unjust. With the city constantly experiencing vertical growth, this landmark judgment will go a long way in settling the issue on pets and their rights to use building facilities.”

The society’s lawyer, Anand Patwardhan, termed the forum’s order as ‘perverse’ saying the case should have been decided by a co-operative court. “The society is fully justified in charging additional money as provided in the by-laws of the Co-operative Society Act. Consumer forums shouldn’t trespass the jurisdiction of other courts – in this case a co-operative court.”

While Dash died last year, Barney can now use the lift without burning a hole in his owner’s pocket.

Posted in Animal Laws of India, Animals, Be the Change, Do you know?, Games people play, Information that empowers!, Inspiration, Jaagruti's interventions, Pets, Relationships, Take Action!, Videos on Animals

How to act when your society RWA puts a bar on letting your pet dog use the building lift?

Pet Dogs: Should they be allowed on lifts or not? (Photo credit: theotokos.co.za)

On the afternoon of 10th August 2010, the Jaagruti helpline received a call from Mrs. Usha Gulati in Faridabad who informed that the residents welfare association of the colony in which they stay had objected to them taking their Pet dog Pixie up and down the building lift from their 5th floor flat. Ms. Gulati and her family was willing to take Pixie down (for his walks) using the stairs but given his age (Pixie is 10+ years old) and the fact that they live on the 5th Floor, the Gulati family was not willing to cow down to the demands and orders of the RWA in any way and were even willing to take this matter to court should the RWA remain adamant in its stance on this subject.

Most of the times the arguments that RWA office bearers give to pet owners while objecting them to using the building lift with their pets- ‘the pets odour is harmful for human health’, ‘pets are dirty’, ‘pets make the lift dirty’, ‘pets can pounce or growl or attack other people in the lift’ and the list goes on as per the whims and fancies of the RWA representatives.

Ms. Gulati mentioned to us that she has a copy of a news clipping that came out in Times of India newspaper in December 2008 in which a Mumbai resident had approached a consumer court for his pet dog Shimu.  Further to this Ms Gulati wanted to know from us if there was any previous judgment in this regard that they could use to help Pixie. Below is presented a step-by-step guide on how to tackle such a problem which, as we learnt is a common problem faced by many people living with their pets in buildings with lifts face across many cities in India. The key to coming out victors in such a situation is to have cent percent commitment towards your pet and to be willing to stand up for your pet’s rights, for pets are family!

Through the power of the internet, we enquired upon this ‘Pets being denied lift access’ subject from people across the animal welfare fraternity across India, the following facts came to light and we are sharing this information in our effort to inspire all those who face similar problems to act accordingly when faced with such situations. As for what transpired in the story of Pixie, read this till the end:

The only preceeding judgement in such a case was when Mr. Ajay Marathe, a resident of Mumbai’s Vashi Colony approached the Consumer Court (on 26th September, 2008) when his colony’s association passed a resolution disallowing them to use the building lift with their pet dog ‘Shimu’, who was then 11 years old who was suffering from osteo-arthritis (pain in the bones and joints)

The following trail of news stories on Shimu’s case illustrate the trail of events on this subject as well.

No entry for pets in lifts, Vashi housing society tells residents

Indian Express
N Ganesh Fri Sep 12 2008
Mumbai, September 11 : Says odour may be harmful to health; SPCA takes up issue
Life for 11-year-old Peter-Pan alias Shimu, a Labrador Retriever, has become tougher than ever. Shimu stays with his owners, Ajay and Nandini Marathe, on the fifth floor of New Sarvodaya Co-operative Housing Society, at Sector 4 in Vashi. Shimu has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, an ailment in which the patient suffers from severe joint pain. However, Shimu will now have to use the staircase instead of the lift, as a resolution passed by the general body of the society bars pets from using the building elevator.

On August 3, 2008, the general body resolved to prevent use of lifts by residents accompanied by their pets. According to a notice issued to Marathe and the general body resolution, the society fears that the odour of the pets which is left behind in the lifts, can be hazardous to the life and health of the building residents. In the month of May 2008, the society sought numerous documents certifying the fitness levels of the dog. Marathe, who has a licence for the dog, produced a certificate issued by the Bombay Veterinary College that dog is licenced, vaccinated, healthy and does not suffer from any infectious or contagious disease. The Bombay Veterinary College certificate also adds that since the dog is aged and suffering from osteoarthritis, it should be allowed to use the lift, as climbing the stairs would be a painful task.

Marathe tried to find a way out by using air fresheners after the use of lift by the pet dog. However, the society officer tersely told Marathe that use of air fresheners was not recommended.

After a complaint of Marathe, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has taken up the issue. S B Kadam, assistant secretary, SPCA said, “SPCA inspectors have paid a visit to the society and asked the office bearers to be practical and permit use of lift for the pet dog concerned. We will be hearing from them soon.”

Marathe said, “I paid the watchman from the neighouring building to carry the dog up and down the building thrice a day so that he could answer nature’s call. This arrangement worked fine for a few days, however he stopped coming after being warned by society office bearers.”

Meanwhile, Marathe has temporarily shifted Shimu to his in-laws place at Pen in Raigad district. Chairman of the housing society Arvind Palwankar said, “It is a very old sick dog with a bad odour. We only prevented Marathe from using the lift. Moreover, Marathe is a nuisance as he relentlessly complains against the society to the authorities about all things trivial.”

What the law says
Advocate Rahul Thakur who is associated with In Defense of Animals (IDA) said that the society resolution violates section 11 (3) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960. It is also against article 51 A (g) of the Indian Constitution according to which it is the duty of every citizen to have compassion for animals, living creatures and improve the natural environment. Thakur said, “The society resolution is illegal as it is unconstitutional.”

Please note the underlined portion in the last paragraph of the above story.

Luckily for Shimu, who is now in good heavens, the Consumer Court upheld the society’s resolution and passed the judgement in his favour and also asked the Association to pay Mr. Ajay Marathe Rs.5000/- in lieu of the damages and the expenses incurred by him on this court case.

Please read through the following news stories:

Peter Pan can use apartment lift now

Indian Express

N Ganesh Dec 17, 2008

Mumbai This 11-year-old dog was barred from using lift by the housing society in Navi Mumbai

The consumer forum came to the rescue of a 11-year-old dog, Peter Pan alias Shimu, who was not allowed to use the apartment lift by the office bearers of a housing society in Navi Mumbai. Shimu, a pet belonging to Ajay and Nandini Marathe, residing on the fifth floor of New Sarvodaya co-operative housing society was barred from using the society lift. Shimu had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis — an ailment that causes acute pain in the joints.

In its order dated December 11, 2008 the Thane District Additional Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ruled that the housing society’s move to prevent pets from using the apartment lift without any valid reasons amounted to deficiency in service to the members as per section 2 (1) (g) of the Consumers Protection Act.

The Marathes were asked to produce documents certifying the illness of the dog. However, despite producing the required certificates and reports, the general body of the housing society in August 2008 resolved to ban pet animals from using apartment lifts.

The housing society contended before the forum that the dog was not a consumer of the housing society and hence the forum cannot hold the society liable. The consumer court however said in its order: “The issue of ‘dog’ being or not being the consumer of the society is not valid, instead the valid issue should be whether the complainant is consumer of the housing society or not.”

Since the membership of the Marathes to the housing society was not disputed, the consumer court said: “The dog has valid license and has been certified by a veterinary doctor of having no contagious and infectious disease. It has received all its vaccines. The doctor has also recommended the use of lifts owing to its condition.”

The housing society contended that the use of lifts by pets threatened the safety of the residents. However the Consumer court held that the housing society’s decision to ban pets from using lifts was without any valid reasons and hence amounted to deficiency in service. The court has ordered the housing society to pay Rs 3000 as damages and Rs 2000 as legal expenses to the Marathes.

Consumer court upholds dog’s right to use lift


18th December, 2008,  Published in: The Times of India

Mumbai: An 11-year-old Labrador has emerged a champion of dog rights by not only winning for himself the right to travel in the elevator of his apartment complex in a Mumbai suburb but getting his master a Rs 5,000 compensation from the apartment’s anti-pet managing committee.

The Thane District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum passed an order, defending Shimu aka Peter Pan’s right to use the left and directed the society to compensate the owner for the harassment he faced. The dog’s owner, Ajay Marathe (52), a fifth floor resident of New Sarvoday Cooperative Society at Vashi, told TOI on Wednesday: This is a very good judgement given in our favour in real time. In fact, a lot of pet owners face the same problem in Mumbai; this order can be an important reference point to help them use their society lifts.

Marathe added that the 35-kg Shimu suffered from pain in the joints and couldn’t use the stairway. The society this May passed a resolution, saying pets like cats and dogs could not be allowed in the lift as their body odour could be injurious to health and life, which I found to be ridiculous, he said.

Marathe first went to the cops, but failing to get a sympathetic response from them, he lodged a case in the Thane consumer court. The consumer court has given this judgement in less than three months. The Rs 5,000 compensation for my pet is also welcome as I had to temporarily shift Shimu to my in laws house in Pen, which caused some discomfort to him, he said.

To read the full judgement given by the Consumer Court on this case in favour of Shimu the dog, please click here

Since Shimu passed away soon after this judgement was announced, Mr. Marathe donated the Rs.5000/- compensation he received to the animal welfare charity named PAWS which used this contribution to publish brochures on the ‘Tree Protection Act’, which carried Shimu’s name on it as a mark of honour to his spirit.

Now, coming back to Pixie’s case in Fraidabad, here is what happened-

Deriving inspiration from Mr. Marathe’s stance on getting justice for Shimu, Ms. Usha Gulati’s familytook the press clipping of Shimu’s news (which had come out in TOI in December 2008) and approached the Local  Police with the copy of the same and lodged a complaint against the RWA…the cops then called and came over to meet the RWA representatives and following all of this, an amicable solution was reached upon in which it was agreed that the  Gulati family would be allowed to bring their pet dog Pixie down the stairs for his walk and after he has relieved himself and there is apparently nothing in his stomach to ‘dirty’ the lift with, he can take the lift upstairs to his fifth floor house along with his owner.

So, next time you face such an issue, consider using all of this information above and stand up to seek justice for your animal friends. Trust us, its all worth the effort and a way to (try to) pay back  for all the love that your pet animal has showered upon you unconditionally.

However, we would like to also suggest to you that as always prevention is better than cure so please be mindful of a few other things a ‘responsible’ pet owner can follow while using the lift with their pet, to avoid inconvenience to the fellow lift users:

1. Make sure that your pet dog/cat is vaccinated to avoid any health related arguments from fellow building residents.

2. Keep your pet animal on a leash.

3. If your pet is aggressive and has a tendency to bite strangers, then it would be better to put a muzzle around the pet’s mouth while you move your pet in the lift. You can remove the muzzle once your pet is out of the lift.

4. Try using the lift when no one is in there, alternatively avoid using the lift when someone (you know) having a canine/feline-phobia (i.e someone who is well-known to be scared of dogs/cats) is already travelling in the lift.

5. Make sure that your pet doesn’t pee or defecate in there, so avoid taking young untrained pups in the lift as else you would most likely end up creating a lot more disgruntled neighbours or should we say enemies!

6. Take care of the health and hygiene of your pet dog/animal, give it a nice bath regularly so that it doesn’t emanate any sort of stinking odour in a public place like a lift, which may else be a cause of inconvenience for the fellow residents of your building.

* Credits: We deeply thank AWBI’s lawyer Anjali Sharma, PAWS founder trustee Nilesh Bhanage and Vishruti Aggarwal for sharing their experiences, the video link and the consumer court judgement with us.

Posted in Animal Laws of India, Be the Change, Do you know?, Information that empowers!, Inspiration, Stories from Ground Zero, Take Action!

Wildlife Crime Investigations and the Legal system

By Vasudha Mehta [Mail : vasudha@jaagruti.org]

We learn much in life through our respective experiences, trials and errors and this article traces my experience while working with animal rescue groups on wildlife crime based investigative operations. We do understand that what I did was just one tiny drop in the ocean but atleast it was a single drop…and through this article we at ‘Jaagruti’ hope that many more of you who hope to crack the mystery behind nabbing wildlife criminals or the lack of it- will get a peep into the whole process and somewhere down the line be inspired to act to nab those who toy with our country’s much cherished natural heritage, thereby helping in minimising wildlife crime, which has the potential to wipe out India’s magnificent animals if left unchecked!

Image Courtesy: http://www.ohfortheloveofscience.com

Nabbing wildlife criminals

All species of animals and products derived there from that find mention under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972 are considered to be protected under the legal system and the punishments for killing/possessing the same varies as per the degree of the crime committed and the schedule to which the animal belongs. And by law, all wild animals and products listed and protected under this act are considered a property of the Government of India and the responsibility to enforce this law rests entirely on the state wildlife departments (wildlife inspectors/forest officers). However, Section 50 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, also empowers “a Police official of the rank of a Sub-Inspector or above has the powers to search, seize and arrest”.

It is important to note that while undertaking a raid to nab wildlife criminals, one requires the help of the Police and/or the Forest/Wildlife department for the power to search a spot seize the animals and arrest the accused lies with these government officials; representatives of the NGO circuit, individual activists or the common man don’t have legal powers to do so, but there exist a number of ways in which individuals/NGOs and the government machinery can assist each other to nab wildlife criminals by utilizing their respective skills/resources and legal powers respectively.

Kinds of Wildlife criminals (and Investigations):

There are three levels of wildlife criminals operating in the city. The lowest rung is that of the roadside vendors which include bird-sellers, dog-sellers, pet-shops, snake charmers, madaris etc. Nabbing the people involved in the lower rung helps in reaching the mid-level gang that includes the wholesale-dealers, who retail the animals to these local pheri-wallahs. Catching these wholesale dealers leads us to the source, which includes the traders who are involved in capturing these animals from their wild habitat and the knowledge of the areas from where the animals are being captured and an idea about their trade routes.

Broadly, wildlife crime investigations in our country can be categorized into the following-

  1. Those conducted by NGOs/activists/individuals in the cities which involve seizure of wildlife products like mongoose hair brushes, owl claws etc. or raid and rescue operations involving live wild animals exploited in cities by street entertainers like madaris and saperas-monkeys, bears and snakes or those animals held by pet shops, meat sellers, street vendors/part-time traders or the dubious tantriks. Such animals include birds like Pigeons, Parakeets, Munias, kites, peacocks and owls; reptiles like snakes, turtles and monitor lizards and; animals like mongoose and civet cats.
  2. Raid/seizure of wildlife contrabands involving highly protected Schedule 1 animals like skins and claws of tigers, lions and leopards, rhino horns, Elephant ivory, Otter skin, Bear biles, Crocodile skins. Such investigations are more time consuming as well as life-threatening in nature since the investigators end up dealing with organised gangs of wildlife criminals that work across national and international boundaries. Such investigations involve a united effort on part of many agencies, the Wildlife Departments, Police, Crime Investigation agencies and the investigative/decoy support and intelligence provided by Wildlife NGOs.

How is an investigation and operation carried out?

  1. The tip-off: Generally, various wildlife NGOs have an enforcement unit comprising of a Research team and a Field Raiding Team, consisting of a network of informers, decoys and field workers. Tip offs are generally received through the aware and sensitized individuals within the society or generated by the informers hired by the NGO’s Research Team.  This system of informers employed by the NGOs is generally paid as per the authenticity and accuracy of the information provided by them.
  2. Conducting a Reccee: To authenticate the information provided to the research team, normally decoys are used to validate the leads so obtained, however sometimes under time constraints for an on the move wildlife contraband or criminal, the luxury of conducting a recee can be least afforded!
  3. The raid: The raiding team generally comprises of NGO resource persons accompanied by officials from the Police, Wildlife Department and or Wildlife Crime Control Bureau who are well acquainted with the laws.In addition to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, even the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 can be enforced upon under many cases.Knowledge of the laws, specific sections and penalties outlined within the act helps in registering a strong case and is crucial for putting the convict behind bars.
  4. Once the raid conducted, the police prepare a seizure memo. The job of the raiding squad is to get the accused arrested, seize the animals and the police then presents the accused and the seized animals/products before the Metropolitan Magistrate in the local district Courts.
  5. The accused is generally sent to 14 days of Judicial Custody (JC) by the Metropolitan Magistrate and the investigation of the case is subsequently handed over to the Wildlife Department.
  6. More often than not, once the Wildlife Department is not represented by a lawyer after the JC period is over, the accused is released on bail. Hence, all the effort of nabbing a criminal goes to waste. Therefore, all that we require from the Wildlife Department is to convict the accused with the help of an efficient public prosecutor.

The (apathy of) State Wildlife Departments, the Police and the legal lacunae:

These departments often do not work to their full potential and the reasons for these are manifold for they neither have the infrastructure, nor the staff or the spirit to do this kind of investigative work.

In Delhi, for example, there are 5 Wildlife Inspectors that joined this department about two decades back and in all these years, they haven’t even been promoted once! When they joined they were Wildlife Inspectors and they remain so even now. In all these years, there are no new recruitments that have taken place either. As a result, there is no one to work under them or work with and naturally so, over all these years these inspectors also tend to lose out on the youthful energy they carried when they first joined these departments, hence it is natural to assume that the officials lack spirit and enterprise and suffer from demonization and frustration.

Coupled with it, is rampant corruption, lack of political will and the complete lack of infrastructure. These wildlife inspectors move on motorbikes and don’t even have a car and a driver at their disposal thus making it difficult for them to move the rescued animals or even take the accused for a Medical examination before presenting him in front of the district court magistrate as per the provisions of the law.

Also, The Wildlife Department and the Police are not armed with a team of animal handlers so they are generally apprehensive of carrying out wildlife crime seizures. Despite knowing that showing snakes to people on roadsides or selling birds is illegal, the authorities fail to nab street entertainers using animals as the whole thought of handling snakes, monkeys, bears and mongooses (after conducting the seizure) scares them off!

The Wildlife Departments don’t have the space to house rescued animals till their release orders are issued by the court. Zoos are most unwilling as they are already starved of space and cash. Also, the Wildlife Departments don’t have lock ups to house the arrested accused before being presented to the court and thus they have to turn to the Police for lock-up assistance which adds to the headache of the police stations as they get thrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the accused doesn’t suffer health wise or die in their police custody

As Rajeev Jain, an animal activist associated with the Delhi chapter of NGO People for Animals shares below; there are many hurdles that prop up at different stages of a wildlife crime combating operation, mostly because the police and judges are not sensitized to animal welfare or aware of the laws and seriousness of the crime. “The judges in the district courts normally take pity on the bird sellers or a snake charmer we catch hold of in a city because they consider them to be poor people and thus give them the most meager punishment and accept their bail plea very easily. Lives of animals are not considered precious enough”, lamented Rajeev.

Also the Police authorities and wildlife officers are found wanting especially when it comes to handling, identifying and rehabilitating the live animals seized and it is here that the NGOs pitch in with their expertise. For example: NGOs pitch in with their knowledge of handling, health, habitat and feeding habits of the animals rescued along with providing temporary shade and shelter to the rescued animals. Often, many rescued animals die in the police station before being presented to the courts as the police officials are not provided with any budget to administer first aid or purchase the adequate feed/feeding bowls to help the stressed animals.

But all is not lost, gradually with growing awareness levels, the authorities are being increasingly and regularly forced to cooperate and extend support to individual activists and NGOs to nab wildlife criminals and it is up to individuals like you to acquaint yourself with the laws and the modus-operandi mentioned above so that you can assist as well as request the cooperation of enforcement authorities to take wildlife crime seriously. Only when more people take these issues up, will the authorities be on tender hooks and the government will be compelled to carry out the infrastructural and procedural improvements required to make the wildlife departments more effective and efficient.

Lastly, what is NOT Right?

Nilesh Bhanage of PAWS shares below his valuable insight on where exactly lies the problem with those people/NGO activists who consider themselves to be over and above the law and become overnight wildlife activists who go on to break every rule in the book in sheer exuberance, enthusiasm or most commonly for the sake of greed of money and media attention!

Most of the wildlife crime investigations in India happens out of heart & not with minds/ideas, careful planning or tricks and therein lies the only problem. Any animal lover starts posing as wildlife activist and starts doing  raids is clearly wrong. They will not do work in a stepwise manner and risk getting into trouble and that is one of the reasons wildlife crime conviction rates in India are so low.When anyone conducts raids, they must provide photos, video CDs,  veterinary treatment certificates, proofs, panchnama of seized material from criminals and even use supporting laws (i.e. using kids for wildlife trade is also punishable under child labor laws, using wildlife items for medicines comes under Food & Drug administration Act etc), so there are multiple factors that are involved.For Example: One girl posing animal activist goes to someone’s house & just pick-up their pet parakeet & squirrel which was hand-raised by someone. Then this girl goes & releases these animals and birds, confiscated by her back into wild, then in our eyes that girl herself is criminal under Indian Wildlife protection Act 1972 because she has flaunted the following following norms:

  1. Making illegal/unauthorised entry into someone’s private house
  2. Taking photos of gallery / bedroom
  3. Rescuing wildlife without prior intimation/information being conveyed to forest/wildlife department and also without their permission.
  4. Seizure of animals is also illegal as it can be done only by Police or Wildlife Department officials or honorary officers appointed by these two departments for this task.
  5. Abandoning wildlife anywhere (which was never exposed to wild area as it was kept as pets) to die in name of rehab
  6. Not doing any paper work for such seizure.
  7. Stealing someones property like cages.

Remember, if we want to help animals or our wildlife, it is important that we follow the rules, for our safety and also for the health of the animal.

Useful resources:

  1. Animal Laws of India http://unilawonline.com/animallaw/ReadContent.asp
  2. Indian Wildlife Crime Control Bureau: http://wccb.gov.in/
Posted in Against Animal Cruelty, Animal Laws of India, Animals, Be the Change, Information that empowers!, Take Action!, Videos on Animals

For reporting animal cruelty cases: How to approach the police for help?

What comprises Animal Cruelty?

Contacting the Police on the Phone:
In an emergency situation telephone your local police station or dial 100 (Central Police Control Room) Get your “Ticket number” if you have dialled 100. Get the name and designation of the police personnel if you have called your local police station. Note the date and time on both occasions. If you wish to remain anonymous you do not need to reveal your identity.

At the Police Station:
i) Approach the police (above the rank of constable) politely and briefly explain the situation.

ii) Request them to take action against the offender.

iii) If they state it is not their job to protect animals as there are far too many human problems, politely enlighten them about their role in the PCA Act, 1960 (quote the relevant sections). If in Delhi, do tell them about the Delhi Police Act, 1978 Chapter IX entitled “the Prevention of Cruelty to animal”.

iv) Refer to http://awbi.org/awbi-pdf/apl.pdf for a compendium/factsheet of Animal Protection laws for the guidance of Police, NGOs, Animal Welfare Activists and Officers.

v) Insist on their involvement and offer your help.

vi) Inform them that the injured or distressed animal shelter and not left at the police station. This will reassure them.

vii) File an FIR if necessary.

viii) Do the necessary follow up.

ix) Do praise him/her after his involvement, no matter how small.

HOW TO FILE AN F.I.R. (FIRST INFORMATION REPORT):

• FIRs are filed at your local police station when you wish to put down in record an incident which you wish to bring to the notice of your local police and at the same time seek their help in solving it. (eg. loss of wallet, train ticket, incident, or any other loss).

• Make out a detailed description of the lost animal/incident with a photograph/s (or any cruelty complaint). Address it: to the SHO (Station House Officer), of your area.

• To file an FIR, write the facts on a plain piece of paper which you yourself may prepare in duplicate, with the date, your name and address, details of the complaint and the people involved, if any.

• The officer on duty at the police station is responsible for making all the necessary entries.

• The copy of the FIR should be duly signed, stamped and dated (note the time as well) by the police station which you should keep safely.

• This is applicable not only to lost animals, but to any animal you have found (which might be lost), cruelty to animals, illegal activities with regard to animals eg. trade in wildlife-bird sellers, snake charmers, turtle traders; illegal slaughtering of animals and illegal slaughter houses; bird sellers; cruelty to animals in zoos; circuses, pets/petshops etc.

• The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 under section 11 covers a large number of cruelties and offences on the basis of which you could file FIRs.

• Insist on filing an FIR. It is your right. It is important to note that the police usually discourage the complainant from registering a FIR in cases which are not so clear. This is because once the FIR is filed, it becomes the responsibility of the police to ensure a conviction.

• Do not lose the stamped copy (by the officers on duty) of the FIR and keep enquiring about the progress. This copy is the proof that the Police have received the information.

• Please don’t forget about the well-being of the animals, make sure that you also contact an Animal Welfare Organization/activists to ensure that they follow up on the health status, rehabilitation/release of the animals in case custody.

Please share  with us your experiences while dealing with the Police /lodging an F.I.R on animal cases, practical learnings end up being different than what we write here, so please be candid in your sharing for it may help someone at a later date when stuck in a similar situation. Thanks-Vasudha