Pig menace: SC stays order corporation bearing costs

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court has stayed the operation of a Karnataka High Court judgement which has saddled the commissioner of Davangere City Corporation with the cost of 500 to 600 pigs - re-located to hill areas of Chitradurga, following huge nuisance caused by them.

An order was issued on October 26, 2018 to catch the stray pigs and relocate them on fear of outbreak of diseases as Davangere earned the notoriety of being “pig capital” of the state.

On Monday, a bench of Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant issued notice to the ‘Akhila Karnataka Kuluva Maha Sangha’, on whose plea the HC had passed its orders on April 22, 2019.

The commissioner, in a special leave petition, filed through advocate Sanjay Nuli, challenged the validity of the order, directing him to pay the entire value of the pigs shifted from his personal salary as well as directing the municipality to earmark public places with all facilities for pig-rearing.

He contended that rearing of pigs and having a pig
farm was an industry which would require licence from the city corporation as provided under the Karnataka Municipality Corporation Act, 1976.

His plea further claimed that the high court discarded a report from the medical department which stated that allowing stray pigs to roam freely within the city limits would cause diseases such as Salmonellosis, Ring Worm, Hepatitis-E, H1N1, swine flu, Brucellosis, toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, anthrax, nalaria, dengue.

“The petitioner had been placed in a catch-22 situation wherein on one hand he could not ignore the complaints submitted by several institutions, organizations and persons to keep the stray pigs in check. On the hand, he was stopped from discharging his duties by the pig owners as officials have been viciously assaulted and threatened when they arrived to perform their duties,” his petition said.

“Without appreciating the situation, the HC compounded the petitioner’s woes by ordering the him to pay the compensation amount solely and personally out of his own pocket,” he submitted.

He said catching of stray pigs wandering the streets of Davangere city was an herculean task involving huge expenditure to the public exchequer, skilled manpower, sophisticated nets, tools, logistical support and also armed protection from the local authorities.

He said there were several complaints that the stray pigs have damaged the city’s solid waste management, sewer lines, waste bins, sanitary infrastructure, drinking water supply lines, underground cables.

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