Updated: March 8, 2021 1:04:43 am
The Bombay High Court has set aside an order by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) which had suspended the recognition of Mumbai-based Universal Animal Welfare Society which works on animal birth control (ABC) programmes.
The society was asked to shut down its ABC centre at Malad after incidents of alleged cruelty against dogs were found at the centre. The High Court, while setting aside the suspension, held that before taking such drastic action, the society should have been given the opportunity to be heard.
A division bench of Justice A A Sayed and Justice Madhav J Jamdar on March 2 passed the order on a plea by the society, through advocates Eknath Dhokale and Ahmad Abidi, seeking directions against the central government and AWBI to set aside the order dated December 14, 2020, suspending its recognition.
“By the impugned order passed by AWBI, not only the recognition has been suspended but the petitioner society has also been directed to close the ABC centre at Malad (West) in Mumbai on the ground that there are cruel activities found at the centre,” Dhokale submitted and sought the order to be set aside claiming it to be “arbitrary” in nature.
The bench observed, “We are of the view that before taking such drastic action of suspension of recognition granted to the petitioner for conducting Animal Birth Contract programme and closing down the centre of the petitioner-society, the petitioner-society ought to have been given an opportunity of being heard. Even the inspection report dated December 11 is completely lacking in particulars.”
Disposing of the petition, the HC said if the show-cause notice is issued against the petitioner, it shall be entitled to file a reply and be heard before a decision is made on such a notice.
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