January 17, 2022 8:32:50 pm
During a brief hearing on controlling cattle nuisance on Monday, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice (CJ) Aravind Kumar pointed out that he, too, had to face it with nearly a dozen bovines blocking his entry to the high court premises and that enforcement agencies were not discharging their duties on this.
The CJ made this remark while hearing a petition filed for contempt of an earlier Gujarat High Court-issued directions with respect to controlling cattle nuisance and maintenance of the quality of roads.
The contempt petition filed by Mustak Hussain Mehndi Hussain Kadri highlighted that several directions issued by the high court in a public interest litigation of 2017 with respect to traffic, road safety and cattle menace were not being complied with.
Responding to the court’s inquiry about the status of actions taken by the state with respect to tackling cattle menace, advocate Amit Panchal, representing Kadri, submitted that the state has issued a notification under the Ahmedabad city police commissioner for certain areas to be maintained as cattle-free zones on an experimental basis.
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An affidavit filed by the deputy commissioner of police of traffic administration division of Ahmedabad city, Tejaskumar Patel, dated January 15, submitted that police have initiated actions against hawkers selling cattle fodder in public places so that the problem of stray cattle can be “effectively checked”.
As part of the initiative, 104 cases against stray cattle was filed in October, November and December, 2021, and 24 cases were filed in this period against those selling fodder in public places.
“The problem of traffic is mainly due to the animals roaming in these places,” the affidavit states, adding that areas of Navrangpura, Ashram road, Gulbai Tekra road to CEPT University crossroad, Vijay Four roads, Darpan Five roads, Navrang Six roads, Swastik Char Rasta, Girish Cold Drink Char Rasta, inner area of Panchwati Circle to Parimal Garden and Income Tax cross roads and some others, have been declared “cattle-free zone/no-cattle zone”.
Panchal said that for other areas, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and the state government shall have to clarify on the plan of action.
The state government, through government pleader Manisha Lavkumar, submitted before the division bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice AJ Shastri that action under the Cattle Trespass Act, and Bombay Police Act are being taken.
Lavkumar also said that the state “in a novel measure” has dedicated cattle-free zones in heavy vehicular traffic areas.
However, CJ Aravind Kumar interjected the state’s submission to remark, “For your information, when the car of the Chief Justice was entering the High Court, there were about 10-12 cattle which had blocked the road. Even the police whistling did not move (the cattle)… it stood like a rock…”
“Legislations are good, but enforcement agencies are not discharging their duties, that is the problem. In such circumstances, we will have to rope in the legal services authority also…,” he added.
The bench added that the legal services authority for compiling the report, will be entitled to take feedback from any NGOs or any individuals by opening up a toll-free telephone number.
CJ Kumar inquired if there were any issues pertaining to stray dog menace to which Panchal submitted that the 2017 PIL directions did not include stray dogs in the ambit of directions and hence has not been included in the contempt petition.
CJ Kumar remarked that he was advised “by many” that he “should not go for a walk on roads”, adding that while he has dogs and loves dogs, “our enjoyment should not become a nuisance to others, should not be harmful to anybody”.
The court has kept the matter for further hearing on January 19.
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