The Supreme Court has agreed to examine a plea seeking contempt action against the chief officer of a municipal council in Karnataka and a private contractor on allegations of mass culling of stray dogs.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana and M M Shantanagoudar issued notice to Wilson VT, Chief officer of Municipal Council of Sakaleshapura town, and contractor V George Robert and sought their response in four weeks.
Advocate Siddharth Garg, appearing for petitioner animal rights activist Neveena Kamath, said the contempt proceedings should be initiated against the two respondents for willfully disobeying the specific directions of the apex court.
He said that on November 18, 2015, the apex court had directed that all local authorities and panchayats should strictly follow the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960 and the Animal Birth Control (ABC) Rules, 2001 and that no "subterfuge or innovative methods" to circumvent the order of the court will be tolerated.
Garg said the PCA Act 1960 and the ABC Rules, 2001 prohibit any wanton catching and relocation of stray dogs and only allow catching for the purpose of sterilisation and relocation back to the same place, where the stray dogs were picked up.
According to the petition, Wilson had given contract to George to catch and then relocate stray dogs within his municipality.
George was paid Rs 91,537 for catching and relocating 350 stray dogs.
"It must be made clear that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the ABC Rules, 2001 only allow catching then sterilising, vaccinating and then relocation at the very same place. They do not allow any such catching and dislocating," the plea said.
It said that the respondents have "deliberately and willfully" violated the orders of this court and contempt proceedings should be initiated against them.
"If such violations are not dealt, swiftly and sternly, by this Court then it will send a very wrong message to society that the orders of the apex court can be trifled with and there are no consequences for even the most open and egregious defiance. The actions of the Respondents are making a mockery of the majesty of this Court and invite the wrath of this Court to its fullest extent," the plea said.