Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

TO

 

1.Smt Kamaljeet Sehrawat

Mayor

South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC)

Flat 132, Guru Apartments

Plot # 2, Sector 6

Dwarka

New Delhi 110 075

 

 

2.Dr. R B S Tyagi

Director-Veterinary Services

South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC)

17th Floor

Dr. SPM Civic Centre

Minto Road

New Delhi 110 002

 

 

3.Dr. Puneet Kumar Goel

Commissioner

South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC)

17th Floor

Dr. SPM Civic Centre

Minto Road

New Delhi 110 002

 

 

04.04.2018

 

Caution & Correctional Notice

Without Prejudice

 

This is in reference to the following articles which appeared in the New Delhi editions of leading mainline publications/newspapers regarding imposition of fines on pet owners who walk and relieve their dogs in the open:

 

1.Navbharat Times (dated 22-3-2018),

2.Hindustan Times (dated 24-3-2018)

3.Time of India (dated 24-3-2018)

4.Indian Express (dated 01-04-2018) 5. https://thewire.in/economy/india-cess-day-keeps-governance-away

 

Against these articles, statements in public domain by the Mayor and her declared intent, the undersigned, is putting you to notice as follows:

 

1.The undersigned is a co-petitioner in the ongoing matter before the Hon’ble Supreme Court rulings dated January 24, 2009 (Animal Welfare Board of India Vs People For the Elimination of Stray Dogs, Record of Proceedings 265025) Vide SLP (C) 691/2009 and hereby considers it his duty to inform and warn you of the legal consequences of this action initiated by your office.

 

Kindly note that:

 

1.The proposed rule is autonomous, undemocratic and in contempt of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. In 2009 the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) had, in detail, submitted before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India deficiencies of the Municipal Acts all across the country. AWBI detailed how these municipalities violate central acts and constitutional rights of animals and humans. Following the initial arguments the hon’ble judge stayed the implementation of contestable aspects of the municipal acts all across the country, that deal with dogs. Since the DMC and other acts don’t distinguish between pets, strays, semi adopted (no classification) dogs, the stay applies to all rules associated with dogs, in this particular case. Hence, this case is sub-judice in the apex court.

 

You may further note that the hon'ble bench vide a series of interim orders between 2015 and 2016 reiterated this stay order so that no confusion remains and has thus categorically restricted all municipal corporations from implementing whole or parts of municipal and state acts that concern dogs (strays as well as pets) until the hon'ble court announces final judgment on grave conflict matters related to constitutionality of the central and municipal acts. The same bench has restricted all States via their Chief Secretaries, to refrain the state from taking any measures that conflict with rights of dogs as well as violate central acts and provisions of the constitution. Even the Hon'ble High Courts of every state have been restricted to entertain any PIL related to dogs.

 

In view of the above, if a statutory Government body headed by you, at your initiation and your instructions, ignores or contravenes or attempts to circumvent the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s orders, you will be in open violation and contempt of the apex court.

 

2.Until the time conflicts with the law are sorted out, amending a stayed act is illegal.

 

3.Historically, when SDMC announced mandatory on-line pet registration with clauses of impounding pets, we had filed RTIs with SDMC and the latter had to agree that the same was unconstitutional therefore void.

 

4.In addition to this, another case, Civil Appeal No. 5387 of 2014 & SLP 11686 of 2007, via the final judgment, has detailed out the five rights of animals that cannot be violated by any by-law, rule of the municipal or state acts. That order also mentions how municipal acts/ laws that violate any of these rights should be considered annulled and cannot cause subjugation of rights of animals and animal owners. Since SDMC has not made any social infrastructure provisions for pets and their owners, this new rule openly violates directions of the apex court and is yet again on the second account, in contempt of the apex court.

 

5.As per many other Hon’ble High Courts of India, dogs are companion animals, are a part of family/community. There are also orders that substantiate the same and save pets from any discrimination, including right to use property, space, etc. Imposing such restrictions on pets without providing alternative dog parks, pet relieving areas and walking trails at every ‘cluster’ level, violates the fundamental rights of citizens and directive principles of state policy, besides violating rulings of all the several courts.

 

6.The proposed fine in question is an indirect tax that SDMC seeks to illegally impose on pet owners. High Courts across the country have time and again given orders restricting RWAs, State governments to put separate taxes on pets and owners for using properties and public spaces. Since all tax payers pay municipal taxes for maintenance and management of solid and sewage waste, SDMC can’t impose a punitive double tax on citizens for pets that are family members. Delhi Municipal Corporation Act (1955) clearly states that keeping the city clean is the responsibility of the MCD. Citizens pay property and other taxes to MCD for this. No punitive tax/

fine can be imposed over and above existing taxes. It would conflict with the mandate of Municipal Corporation and their duties.

 

 

7.There is ample evidence to prove that SDMC has not yet worked out or implemented a ‘Comprehensive Open Defecation Free’ plan. Regular, widespread, wanton cases abound of not only creating un-hygienic conditions, but also public hazards and environmental destruction which cause loss of health, loss of life, loss of sustainable living and are a direct violation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 of the United Nations to which India is a signatory and bound to observe. You are aware of the widespread encroachment and destruction of natural groves, water bodies. Of construction, industrial and even bio-medical waste in the areas you represent. As a public representative you are cognizant of the en masse malba dumping Government agencies like DDA/ MCD, waste burning by SDMC workers, open human defecation, littering, garbage dumping, excessive use of plastic and resultant chocking of the soil, illegal factories and conversion of residential premises into commercial establishments, illegal colonization, besides the steep rise in cognizable crimes.

 

8.The SDMC has failed to provide even licensed animals like horses, cattle etc any provisions for proper up-keep and sanitation. Sewage and waste management is still unaddressed in most colonies of SDMC. While your projects include futile and unsustainable beautification of parks and roundabouts every season with no accountability of the taxpayer’s money, there is no effort to streamline these ‘Social Infrastructure’ needs as prescribed in the master plan. It is open to interpretation why under the present circumstances, when your jurisdictional ODF plan is a failure, there is an un-natural bias towards pets. This is underlined by the fact that sanitation is completely your responsibility for which citizens already pay taxes. There is reason to question why amidst so many illegal activities and non-performance of the SDMC, including real issues impacting citizens, you would chose a frivolous topic of pet dogs to be the main reason for Swachata being allegedly compromised. This is breach of Directive Principals of State policy.

 

9.As per the UDPFI Norms and DDA Master Plan, which are both legal documents that bind SDMC , the corporation has to provide Social Infrastructure from cluster level to district level, which includes special facilities and amenities for animals. The norms of UDPFI as based on human population distribution and not area. SDMC area is acutely deficient of the same. In the absence of such fundamental legal amenities, the SDMC has no right to impose any rule or fine that restricts movement and freedom of pets and their owners. This would amount to harassment and unjustified questionable deployment of official resources while ignoring critical and core issues.

 

10.The Informal sector in India, that contributes substantially to our economy, includes hawkers, rickshaw pullers and other economically weaker section of society. These people adopt street dogs as pets and help SDMC in their sterilization, vaccinations and controlling conflict. This new law is a straight way to harassment of these people by your municipal workers. The semi adopted street dogs that are now protected by the orders of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, and the Hon’be Supreme Court of India, will be directly affected by this. The SDMC staff/workers will harass and extract money from this EWS, BPL section in the pretext of this new law. As a result the poor will suffer along with the community animals. You may have a personal view against the existence of both on the streets, but this is not what our Constitution, the laws or the apex court support. Hence this law will also violate Constitutional provisions of the underprivileged and the urban animals that are detailed out by the apex Court.

 

11.The Delhi Municipal Corporation Act is not comprehensive and has no legal by-laws to support this new rule. These are obsolete and were drafted by the British. Since the Hon’ble Supreme Court

is reviewing them in detail, SDMC cannot amend, apply or enforce the act concerning dogs in any way.

 

12.SDMC collects millions of rupees already under Swachh Bharat Cess. This is the tax we are paying for keeping our cities clean, besides the core municipal taxes. SDMC can’t induce double taxation.

 

13.The fine for human defecation is Rs 50. On what basis does the SDMC seek to levy Rs 500 from pet owners ?

 

14.The SDMC Mayor has issued statements threatening pet owners that they will be “Hauled up” if they don’t pay the fine. This public intimidation is direct threat to pet owners and can be inferred to mean that they should either abandon their pets or they will be physically assaulted.

 

15.SDMC has purchased 5 acres of land in Dwaka for a pound. Do you propose to keep impounded dogs (pets and strays) there, in violation of the law and in contempt of the Hon’ble Supreme Court orders.

 

16.In general any punitive measures only lead to rampant corruption. Municipal workers that will be given the power to fine would have a new source of illegitimate income

 

17.This new rule has created a divide in society. People who keep pets consider them as their own children. After these news reports RWAs are already restricting movement of pets within and outside campuses. Notices are being issued to pet owners. Social friction induced by this new law will become the reason for community conflict. This would clearly increase daily level conflict and create additional unmanageable law and order situations. Pets and their owners are already coming under immense stress, as you have tried to restrict their “Basic Needs”.

 

18.A large section of society consists of animal lovers. Compassion, respect and co-option of all life is a civilizational and religious value in India and enjoined by the Constitution of India, Article 51 (a) . A large number of citizens have been assisting MCDs in controlling population, aggression and diseases of animals via the ABC AR program. Under the leadership of the previous Mayor, a lot of work has been done to make South Delhi rabies free. Animal people even spend large sums of money from their pockets to support SDMC. They are shocked to see that the same SDMC is turning against them. This new fine is a proof of the fact that you are indifferent towards a large section of society. India has a growing pet care industry of over 800 million dollars. With more and more pet clinics, spas, hotels, boarding opening in large numbers in every colony, you can imagine how many people are turning into animal lovers. As an elected public representative and as public servants, of the largest corporation of Delhi, you should not choose to ignore the sentiments and needs of such a large section of society. This arbitrary tax is discriminatory.

 

It is critical that any public servant’s role be characterized by fairness, an appreciation of natural justice, a long term, multiple stakeholder view, and in accordance with the Service Rules which govern such positions. It is hereby conveyed, that the SDMC’s new modified pet by laws are illegal, impractical, discriminatory. They are a potential form of harassing pet owners and animal lovers, creating additional avenues for corruption, abuse, conflict and misuse of the taxpayer’s money.

 

Therefore, you are put to notice to kindly immediately restrain your office from amending the existing act till the time the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India gives its final judgment in this matter. If your office persists with this proposed rule, we would be compelled to initiate contempt proceeding against you. Please be further informed that this notice is without prejudice to the rights and contentions of all the pet owners to take appropriate action against you in the appropriate court/courts of law and you will personally be liable for cost and consequences there upon.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Amit Chaudhery | Rishi Dev