Updated: June 6, 2020 12:17:51 pm
In a relief to pet owners, the Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court that pets can be taken for walks for 20 minutes in a day in accordance with the June 1 guidelines of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). The state also said that the 20-minute slot will not be applicable for containment zones and a circular related to such zones will be issued later in the day.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice A A Sayed heard through videoconferencing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by animal rights activist Vineeta Tandon seeking relief for pets, including movement of animal ambulances and private vehicles carrying animals to hospitals and permission for feeding strays and pet walks.
The court was informed by Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni that a circular was issued by the state government and restrictions had been lifted partially.
AG Kumbhakoni further said that, AWBI, which is a statutory body formed under the Cruelty to Animals Act, had issued guidelines for taking pets outdoor to answer nature’s call during the nationwide lockdown. According to these guidelines, the state has now decided to lift the restrictions and allow owners to take their pets out for 20 minutes per day and it would not be implemented in its entirety in containment zones and a separate circular would be issued, Kumbhakoni said.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said that Centre’s stand was in consonance with the AWBI circular.
Assistant Government Pleader Manish Pabale said as most of the prayers raised in the plea had been addressed, the PIL can be disposed of.
The PIL filed through advocate Harshavardhan Bhende also sought court directions to the authorities to allow feeders to move freely and to allow veterinary ambulances along with private vehicles in case ambulances are not available to take pets to hospitals.
To this, advocate Pabale said that instructions were already issued to the police to permit feeders and to issue requisite passes to ambulances and private vehicles to operate.
After hearing submissions, the bench led by CJ Datta said that it was more than satisfied by the state’s response and disposed of the plea.
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