New Delhi, Feb 3: "A faithful dog is a faithful friend." This is how the Supreme Court remarked on Monday as it questioned the authority of municipal bodies to pick up dogs off the street and eliminate them on the pretext that they are a public nuisance.
While dog-lovers have assailed such authority of municipal bodies, a bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant also echoed similar concern when, during the hearing, one of the judges observed that "Man's best friend is a dog".
The apex court was hearing a batch of appeals including those filed by Animal Welfare Board and dog lovers against the Bombay High Court decision to allow municipal authorities in Maharashtra to kill stray dogs causing "nuisance".
However, the High Court order was stayed by the apex court on January 23, 2009. The apex court said on Monday that such a situation has arisen as the crux of the problem was the contradiction in animal welfare laws on what constitutes "nuisance".
The counsel appearing for Animal Welfare Board argued that "nuisance" was a subjective term. One of the counsels said some people, who were "naturally inclined" to dislike dogs and affected by "dog phobia", could easily brand it a nuisance.
The court noted that under Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, if civic bodies received a complaint that a dog has become a source of nuisance to the public, they could "seize" and kill them. The matter has been posted the matter for further hearing on March 25.