Sunday, April 2, 2023

Allahabad High Court seeks affidavit from UP govt on condition of stray cattle in rural areas, appoints Amicus Curiae

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Expressing concern over the condition of stray cattle in rural areas of the state, the Allahabad High Court has sought a counter-affidavit from the Chief Development Officer, who also serves as the Chairman of a Committee formed to ensure the safety of cattle in cattle shades.

A Bench comprising Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhya and Justice Mohd Faiz Alam Khan on Wednesday also ordered the State Counsel to seek instructions in the matter within two weeks.

The Lucknow Bench further appointed Advocate Yogendra Misra, assisted by Advocate S. M. Singh Royekwar, as Amicus Curiae to assist the Court in the matter.

The order was passed on a PIL filed by Ravi Kumar Singh, alleging that respondent no 5, who is a candidate for election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly (from Harchandpur constituency in District Raebareli), gathered thousands of stray cattle/animals on his private land with no provision for fodder, drinking water, or shade.

The plea also claimed that respondent no 5 made a public announcement in order to entice the electors/voters of the area that he would pay Rs 50 per animal to anyone, who brought such stray cattle to the aforesaid land.

It was also alleged that because appropriate arrangements were not made and no security/protection of animals was provided in the shelter, the cattle were dumped inside the alleged shelter house and several of them died.

In this regard, the plea asked the Court for several directions, including taking action against respondent no.5, saving the lives of cattle, and determining responsibility in the matter.

The State Counsel, on the other hand, contended that the instant plea was nothing more than a proxy petition filed on behalf of a rival candidate in the upcoming election to the State Legislative Assembly and thus, it was likely to be dismissed.

Taking into account the averments in the plea and complaint attached, the Court concluded that the current proceedings were a proxy petition instituted by the petitioner on behalf of a person, who was running for election as a rival candidate for the U.P. State Legislative Assembly, in which respondent no.5 was also running from a different political party.

The Bench condemned the petitioner’s conduct in initiating these proceedings ostensibly in the public interest, and as such, the Court deemed it appropriate to dismiss him as a petitioner in this case.

However, considering the poor condition of stray cattle/animals kept in a shabbily erected and constructed cattle shade, the Court entertained the writ petition on the limited issue of appropriate arrangement for stray cattle in rural areas.

It, however, directed that the cause title of the writ petition be described as ‘Yogindra Misra vs State of U.P. and others’.

Before dismissing the order, the Bench imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner for unnecessarily abusing the Court’s process in an attempt to advance his personal interests.

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