The Madras High Court has taken serious note of the news report carried in The Hindu on September 11 regarding the stray dog menace inside the court buildings. Taking it as a cue, the court has decided to pass comprehensive orders on controlling the menace of strays dogs across the State.
Justice N. Kirubakaran referred to the news report titled ‘Judicial seat courted by dogs and darkness’ in an interim order passed on Thursday when a writ petition pending since 2016 came up for hearing before him. The petition was filed against stray dog menace in Mettur dam area in Salem district.
R. Gowrisangar, 52, employed as a driver in Mettur Municipality, had filed the case. The petitioner had been bitten by a dog on November 8, 2016 when he went to pick up a lorry from a shed near the Public Works Department quarters. He got treated at a local government headquarters hospital.
On the same day, he gave a representation to the Municipality Commissioner to act against the stray dogs as there were several complaints. The complaint was forwarded to the Inspector of Mettur Dam police station but no fruitful action was taken to control the menace of dogs and dog bites, he claimed.
In the meantime, he made an application under the Right to Information Act of 2005 and obtained information about the number of patients who got treated at the local government hospital for dog bites. The information revealed that as many as 5,234 people were treated for dog bites in one year from November 2015.
The petitioner’s counsel M.N. Kathir contended that the Supreme Court had given a free hand to the municipal officials to act against stray dogs while passing orders in a case that was taken up to it from the High Court of Kerala. Therefore, the Mettur Municipality should not remain a mute spectator, it was contended.
During the course of hearing, the judge expressed shock over as many more than 5,000 people having suffered dog bites in a single municipality. “If this is the state of affairs in a municipality what would be the situation across the State. Even The Hindu had recently carried an article on dogs inside the High Court buildings. “This cannot be allowed to continue. We shall pass comprehensive orders covering the entire State,” the judge said and suo motu included Animal Husbandry Secretary, Director as well and Blue Cross of India as respondents and ordered notices returnable by October 4.