No Parks For Dogs!! Delhi High Court Urges AWBI To Make India a More Pet Friendly Country!!
28 Nov 2014
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Delhi High Court has refused to entertain a PIL filed by Advocate Anupam Tripathi that sought direction of Government of India and Delhi to allow access to pet dogs to public parks on grounds of the Courts understanding that the petition sought to perform the function of the AWBI, something that they are not equipped or willing to do.
In the petition filed, Advocate Anupam tripathi sought the conversion of some of the park into designated dog parks, a concept more familiar in Europe and also stated that the various RWAs are formulating rules that are discriminatory to pet parents despite the guidelines issued by the AWBI in its circular that was released in February 2014. AWBI was also a respondent to this petition and was represented by Advocate Anjali Sharma. According to Advocate Tripathi, there are about 35,000 parks in Delhi NCR and out of these 6279 have already confirmed that they do not allow pets in the park.
The court understood that:
the petition did not implead the entities that were actually responsible for the management and upkeep of the parks - the Municipalities.
the petition was not to be considered in public interest even though the petition alleged violation of the fundamental rights of pet parents under the Articles 14 (equality before law) and Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty)
It further stated that:
the rights of any pet owners are to be weighed vis a vis the rights of those who oppose allowing of use of parks by pets even if accompanied by owners.
the petition expected the High court to perform the function of the AWBI which they were not willing to do.
the issue needs to be addressed in a holistic manner and the AWBI is best suited to perform as one of their main functions is to encourage formation of public opinion against animal suffering.
the AWBI may be an advisory body but its core responsibility includes:
work out on a solution in consultation with major stakeholders - dog parents, municipal corporations and people not comfortable with pets in public places to reach a consensus.
further advise the Government on the changes needed in the circular which if not paid heed on can be taken to court
The bench further addressed that the opposition to allowing pets in parks arises from the fact that pets dirty the park and walkways and pet parents are not responsible enough to clean up after them. Advocate Anjali Sharma suggested that the court should give the requisite direction to AWBI to look into the matter addressed in the PIL and further that if AWBI finds merit in the request, it shall make the necessary recommendation to the Government, post the consultation with the stakeholders.
While a few pet parents feel that the judgement may be a setback, many now also understand that:
AWBI has a bigger role to play in making India a pet friendly country
even though AWBI is an advisory body, it is the port call for any pet parents who seek changes in the rules and regulations which may discriminate against them.
the PIL highlighted the issues of responsible pet parenting that must be developed to aid AWBI make India a more pet friendly nation.
All eyes and hopes of thousands of pet parents are now with the AWBI and the best resolution that it would come up with. As a pet parent, it is ideally our responsbility to make the city a clean one, not only for us but for our pets too. There are many parks and gardens where dogs can be allowed provided the parents clean after their dogs. The park authorities can provide poop bags to pet parents who bring their dogs and may also implement a fine beetween INR 50 - 100 to those who don't clean up after their pets.
It is us, pet parents who can work in collaboration with Municipal Corporations and other stakeholders to make our respective cities a clean and pet friendly place to be in.
Business Standard; Image courtesy: Redboard.wordpress; mychv.com