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HC asks Centre to consider stakeholders’ objections before finalising fresh circular on banning ferocious dog breeds

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NEW DELHI, April 16: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to consider objections raised by stakeholders on a fresh draft notification before imposing a ban on sale and breeding of several breeds of ferocious dogs.

The high court passed the order after the counsel for the central government admitted that except for government bodies, no private entity or stakeholder was heard before the earlier notification was issued.

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“Since it is not possible to give an oral hearing to each and every dog owner, this court directs the Union of India to issue a public notice on its official website and one national daily inviting objections to the proposed draft notification/ amendment to the rules,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora said.

The high court said the objections filed in response to the government’s advertisement/ notice published on its website and newspaper shall be considered before finalising the notification.

The court passed the order while disposing of a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s March 12 notification on the ground that the ban was imposed on 23 dog breeds without consulting or inviting objections and suggestions from stakeholders.

The petitioners submitted that the circular was perverse and illegal as it was passed in violation of an earlier undertaking given to the court that due opportunity will be given to all stakeholders to present their views.

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On April 10, the Karnataka High Court quashed the Centre’s March 12 circular banning the sale and breeding of 23 breeds of ferocious dogs.

It said the central government could not have imposed a blanket ban on these breeds through a circular in the absence of any such power available under the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 or the Animal Birth Control (ABC) Rules.

During the hearing before the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, central government’s standing counsel Rajesh Gogna submitted that stakeholders would mean every dog owner and giving a hearing to each one of them is not possible. He urged the court for protection against the Karnataka High Court order.

The bench did not concur with his view and said it would not mean every dog owner as everyone cannot be heard. It said people can file their objections to the government over its decision in writing.

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On March 12, the Centre had directed states to ban the sale and breeding of 23 breeds of ferocious dogs, including Pitbull Terriers, American Bulldog, Rottweilers and Mastiffs, amid rising instances of pet dog attacks. The directive issued to states and Union Territories bars people from keeping these 23 breeds of dogs as pets.

In a letter to the chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories, the Union government’s Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying also said these breeds of dogs already kept as pets should be sterilised to prevent further breeding. (PTI)






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