Implement Delhi High Court directives to end stray cattle menace sign now

Nearly eight/08 years back (in 2002), a division bench of the Delhi High Court disposed of WPs No. 3791/2000 and 842/1997 with directions to the GNCT of Delhi, MCD and NDMC to take effective steps for removing the menace of stray cattle from Delhi.

(Kindly note that two additional phrases cattle shed / cattle sheds have been introduced / inserted beside the words dairy / dairies in order to make this petition applicable to the whole of India as a licence / license is required for a cattle shed and not for a dairy in some municipalities / cities.)

The Delhi High Court in its order dated May 31, 2007 found the stray cattle menace to be hazardous, causing traffic snarls and spreading filth and squalor leading to outbreak of diseases. The Court observed : "The menace of stray cattle is hazardous and causes traffic snarls. It affects the safety of human beings on the road. It has the potential to cause accidents. It is also very cruel on the bovine animals as they are let loose on the road because the owners do not want to feed them. These animals have to fend for themselves. They eat whatever comes in their way including garbage and plastic bags. This affects their health and causes extreme trauma to them. We also find that Gosadans, by and large, have not been able to fulfill the purpose for which they were established. The fact that the animals which were made over to Gosadans have disappeared speaks volumes about their working. Cattle and other animals which are let loose on the roads by their owners are also responsible for filth, squalor and outbreak of diseases."

2. The Court held that the State and its agencies were impervious to the menace and had taken no effective steps to prevent the cattle and the bovine animals from taking to the roads thereby affecting the quality of life of the citizens. The following passage is in this regard apposite: "It appears that the State and its agencies are impervious to the menace of stray cattle. They have not taken any effective steps to prevent the cattle and the bovine animals from taking to the roads. This has affected the quality of life of the citizens. The inaction of the state and its agencies impinges upon the fundamental right of the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution. Under Article 48 of the Constitution, the State inter alia is required to protect and safeguard the forest and wild life. The State by neglecting to perform its duty in preventing the menace of stray cattle is avoiding implementation of Article 48 of the Constitution. It is the duty of the State to keep in view the directive principles of the State policy which are fundamental in the governance of the country and to apply those principles in making the laws. No effective law has been made to prevent the owners of bovine animals including cattle and cows from being let loose."

3. The civic bodies shall please employ sufficient number of vehicles to ferry the impounded cattle.

4. The civic bodies and the police department should please work together to stop the menace of stray cattle.

5. Co-ordination Committee shall please be constituted in each of the Police Districts. Each committee shall consist of the Deputy Commissioner, MCD of the area/Secretary, NDMC, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police of the concerned district. The two member Committee shall be responsible for eradicating the menace of stray cattle.

6. The civic body shall please cancel the licence of a dairy in cause the cattle and other bovine animals belonging to it stray out of the premises in which the dairy is being run.

7. Cattle and bovine animals shall please have a tag number tied around their necks. The tag number must be indicative of the owner to whom the animal belongs so that there is no difficulty in tracing the owner.
8. Prosecutions should please be launched under Section 98 of the Delhi Police Act, 1978 and Section 289 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 against the owners of any cattle and bovine animals which are found on the streets and roads. (the relevant section of the police act is applicable in the other states too)

9. The civic bodies should please employ sufficient number of persons to catch stray cattle and bovine animals. Once they are caught, they shall please be impounded and may please be released only on payment of fine of at least Rs.1,000/- each.

10. The electricity generating companies and the electric supply companies shall please disconnect electricity to the unauthorized dairies/dairy colonies with immediate effect.

The court issued directions to employ sufficient number of vehicles to ferry the impounded cattle, to cancel the licences of the dairy owners in case their cattle and other animals stray / strayed out of the premises / cattle sheds in which the dairy is run, to launch prosecution against the defaulting cattle owners and to disconnect electric supply to the unauthorized dairies and dairy colonies / cattle sheds with immediate effect.

The directions issued by the Court by its order dated 16th December, 2002 proceeded on a clear finding that presence of unauthorized dairies / cattle sheds in the urbanized areas of Delhi was the main reason for the stray cattle menace faced by the citizens.

The short term solution was in the nature of a direction to the civic bodies to employ sufficient number of vehicles to ferry the impounded cattle. Lack of such vehicles was cited as one of the reasons why the process of lifting the cattle from the streets was not as quick as it ought to be.

The long term solution was in the nature of relocation of the dairies operating in municipal zones to the outskirts. The Court had also directed the cancellation of licenses of the dairy owners and their prosecution in case their cattle strayed out of the premises / cattle sheds in which the dairy was being run. Besides, the electric companies were directed to disconnect electricity to the unauthorized dairies / dairy colonies / cattle sheds with immediate effect. The directions of the Court were aimed at making Delhi's roads free from stray cattle by the 1st of February, 2003.

The Court had clearly noted that dairies / cattle sheds were operating / running illegally / unauthorizedly and without any licenses. The essence of the order passed by the Court was that running of dairies in an urbanized city like Delhi puts considerable stress on its civic amenities. The existence of dairies / cattle sheds in the midst of a growing metropolis was considered incomprehensible.

The civic bodies ought to have felt embarrassed and apologetic for being unable to implement the policy in an honest and efficient manner.

It unfortunately seems like authorities have no will to enforce closure or relocation of such illegal / unauthorized dairies / cattle sheds and are / were in fact interested in such dairies / cattle sheds continuing in the urban areas in total defiance of the provisions of law and the Delhi High Court directives which are applicable all over India.

The Civic bodies must please take steps for supplementing their fleet of full body hydraulic trucks with bodies fabricated on the same for catching the cattle from the roads and transporting them to the Gaushalas / Goshalas for cattle catching activities. With the introduction of these trucks, the Municipalities would be in a position to start a drive against the stray cattle on the roads for being shifted and handed over to the Gaushalas directly. This ensures that the roads are free from stray cattle. There is no reason why the city roads should not be clear of stray cattle, even when the process of such cattle being left free on the roads by the dairy owners continues.

Identification of cattle through Micro-chipping
Itd be better to shift the cattle directly to the gaushalas/goshalas. The micro chipping of the cattle impounded from the unauthorized dairies / cattle sheds could then be undertaken in the Gaushalas / Goshalas. Microchipping the stray cattle before they're sent to the Gaushalas / Goshalas, in our view, delays the entire exercise and at times gives rise to a lot of problems on account of dairy / cattle shed owners attacking the cattle lifting team or attempting to snatch the cattle away from them.

Municipal Commissioners should/shall please concede/accept that the provisions of the relevant Sections of the Municipal Corporations Act were mandatory inasmuch as no person can keep any cattle without a license from the Commissioner. The Commissioners should/shall please frame a policy regarding licensing of dairies or keeping of cattle in cities. Municipalities, within a timeframe should please, introduce a proper licensing regime which would inter alia stipulate the conditions subject to which licenses may please be granted for keeping of cattle or other quadruped animals or birds for transportation, sale or hire or for sale of the produce thereof. That, in our view, ought to have been done long time back. It is indeed surprising how the Municipalities could turn a blind eye to the relevant sections of the Municipal Acts and allow the activities enumerated therein to go on without proper licenses granted by the Commissioner in that behalf. The issue of licenses would not only make the dairy/cattle owners accountable but ensure that they conform to the minimum standards of hygiene so very essential for the health of the community and the people living in close proximity to such areas. The Commissioners should/shall please formulate a proper licensing policy and enforce the provisions of relevant sections of the Municipal Corporations, Act.

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Lisa WhiteBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Hon'ble Supreme Court / SC, HCs, President, PM, MoUD, NHRC, SHRCs, Guvs, CMs, Chief / Principal Secretaries, Lok Ayuktas, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, Mayors, Municipal / UDA Commissioners / Councillors, Civic Bodies, DGPs, IGPs, DIGs, CPs, DCPs (Traffic), DCs & SPs

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