Thursday, February 22, 2024

Supreme Court expresses concern over stray dog menace after advocate walks into court with injured hand

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The Supreme Court on Monday, while discussing the growing street dog menace in the country during a courtroom exchange, observed that it would see what could possibly be done in the matter.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice Manoj Misra was hearing a case when Advocate Kunal Chatterjee appeared in the court with an injured hand.

The CJI inquired him about the injury. 

Advocate Chatterjee replied that five dogs hounded him.

Shocked at the incident, the CJI asked whether the counsel was attacked in the neighbourhood. To this, he replied in affirmative.

The CJI then expressed concern over Advocate Chatterjee’s well-being, asking him whether he required medical assistance. CJI Chandrachud said the Registry would provide him with immediate medical aid, if he needed.

This prompted Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was present in court no 1, to raise the seriousness of the issue, mentioning a recent incident in Uttar Pradesh, where a child was bitten by dogs. 

As per the SG, the child was initially not given proper medical attention and when rabies developed, it endangered his life. The SG said the child was ultimately taken to a hospital, but it was too late and he died on his father’s lap. Both father and the doctor were helpless, he added.

The CJI then shared his own experience, stating that two years ago, his law clerk was attacked by street dogs while parking his car.

Justice Narasimha then observed that it was becoming a menace.

Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria, who was present in the court, requested the Bench to take suo motu action to address the street dog menace and protect the safety of citizens.

The CJI assured that the matter would be considered.

A batch of petitions relating to the street dog issue are currently pending before the Bench of Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice KV Viswanathan.

The appeals have challenged the verdicts passed by the High Courts of Kerala and Bombay. 

An application was recently filed by the Kannur district panchayat in Kerala seeking direction to humanely euthanise suspected rabid dogs or extremely dangerous dogs, in order to address the rise in violent attacks by stray dogs in the area. 

The case followed the death of an 11-year-old autistic child, who was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs in Kannur district of Kerala.

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