‘Right to Food’ for the street dogs is a groundbreaking decision by the Delhi High Court. India’s street dogs were given their separate legal declaration of rights and responsibilities, which provides the ability to be fed and need to protect the regions where they stay. Here is what the judgement says.
“Animals have a legal right to live with compassion, respect, and dignity,” the court stated in its decision, which is overwhelmingly in favour of the voiceless. Animals are sentient beings with inherent worth. As a result, every citizen, including governmental and non-governmental organizations, has a moral obligation to safeguard such beings,” the court continued.
‘Right to Food’ For The Street Dogs
The decision was made in a long-running conflict between a Delhi resident and animal lovers who had been feeding dogs in a neighbourhood near the plaintiff’s house. The court has ordered the two parties to reach an agreement in February. As a consequence of the impasse, Justice Pratibha M. Singh requested that the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) act as an arbitrator.
The judgement might have far-reaching consequences for India’s millions of “community dogs,” as the decision affectionately referred to stray dogs.
Animals Have The Right To Food
“Community animals (stray/street dogs) have the right to food, and residents have the right to feed community dogs,” the court stated clearly.
However, the court cautioned that when implementing this right, “care and caution should be taken to assure that it does not impair the rights of others, or cause any harm, inconvenience, harassment, or nuisance to other individuals or members of society.”
Even though the two sides finally reached an agreement creating fixed feeding locations for stray dogs, the plaintiff and defendant’s counsel sought Justice J. R. Midha to establish guidelines for feeding stray dogs in neighbourhoods. In India, the subject of feeding stray animals has sparked some of the most heated debates in municipal colonies, with some inhabitants perceiving them as a danger to their safety and health.
Feeding Sites For The Animals
In all Delhi colonies, Justice Midha handed out comprehensive rules for the establishment of feeding sites. He also advised that a trial project in ten residential areas be carried out with the assistance of the AWBI. Each RWA will be required to establish an Animal Welfare Committee under the court’s proposed approach.
Because it will entail designating “feeding areas,” the court’s decision could have far-reaching implications. RWAs will also need to plan for sterilisation and medical treatment of sick animals.
Care For Injured Animals
The court held that “if any of the street/community dogs are injured or sick, it shall be the responsibility of the RWA to provide them the treatment for such dog by the veterinarians made available by the Municipal Corporation and/or privately from the RWA’s funds.”
Beyond certain locations, the court noted that street dogs are typically territorial and loyal to the regions in which they live. It described how the dogs could be trained to function as security dogs for the region with the cooperation of the police.
Given that dogs are territorial animals, the court stated that feeding must take place in a place that is both convenient for residents and inside the dogs’ “territory.”
Suitable Times To Feed The Strays
The court ordered the RWAs and the Animal Welfare Board of India to set “suitable times” for feeding the dogs twice a day. Additionally, the court considered using the welfare board to resolve disputes between residents, RWAs, and animal feeders.
The court further stated that “it shall be the duty and responsibility of the Government authorities, especially the jurisdictional SHO, to guarantee that peace and harmony are preserved amongst the residents, caretakers, and local dog feeders” to maintain peace between all parties.
The judge highlighted Article 48A of the Constitution in his decision, which declares that the state must safeguard forests and wildlife. He also highlighted Article 51A(g) of the Constitution, which states that citizens must show “concern for living creatures.”
He claimed that Article 21 guarantees the right to life, which he believes should be extended to animals as well. “The aforementioned Article safeguards not only the lives of humans but also the lives of animals,” he said.