August 26, 2021 4:38:10 pm
The Bombay High Court Thursday sought a response from the Maharashtra Animal Welfare Board on illegal pet shops selling endangered species across the state. The HC, while issuing notice to the Board, sought information on the number of pet shops with valid permits.
The division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice G S Kulkarni was hearing a Public Interest Litigation on pet shops running without valid licences and violations of rules by them.
The petitioner’s counsel Sanjukta Dey told the bench that she had visited shops in Crawford Market and Kurla as recently as three days ago and found violations of the earlier high court order, which had directed immediate closure of such illegal shops. Dey submitted that the shops have reopened with licences issued by the civic body which is not authorised to issue such permits. She said that the shops require permission from the State Animal Welfare Board. She also informed the court that she had seen puppies being drugged and animals kept out in the sun or out in the rain with no food or water.
“If there is already a court order, how are these pet shops open? They are selling endangered birds, tortoises… look at the kind of animals they are selling. It was happening 200 metres from MRA Marg police station (at Crawford market) when I was a member of the earlier bench… We are now informed that they have started again, what is this? How can you permit these activities?” Justice Kulkarni asked.
The bench asked the state government whose duty it was to supervise these shops and also sought information about how many such shops have valid licenses with proper registration with the Board as per rules.
The court termed the matter “very serious” and sought the Board’s response on Monday.
“In the meantime, whatever action in accordance with law, you will initiate,” the court told the government.
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