The Delhi government informed the Delhi High Court Monday that the matter pertaining to the implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018 is currently pending before the Lieutenant Governor’s office for consideration, in a public interest litigation seeking regulation of pet shops in strict compliance with the said rules and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1980.
The counsel appearing for the Delhi government informed a division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh that the file went from the Chief Minister’s office on December 14 and the issue is presently before the L-G, pending consideration. The HC, thereafter, listed the matter on February 2, 2023.
Last month, the HC had asked the Delhi government to inform the court about the “mode and manner in which the 2018 rules are being implemented and enforced in accordance with law”.
In a hearing last month, senior advocate Jayant Mehta, appearing for the PIL litigant, had submitted that pleadings have been complete. During the hearing, the Delhi government was unrepresented, and Mehta said replies have been filed by respondents and the Delhi government was represented in the matter in the previous hearings.
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Mehta had submitted that as per the RTI filed by the petitioner in November last year, a list of pet shops registered with the Delhi Animal Welfare Board shows that not even a single pet shop has been registered. Mehta further submitted that pet shops need a licence before housing animals, and in Delhi not even a single pet shop is registered with the state animal welfare board.
In its November 21 order, the HC had said, “Issue notice to Government of NCT of Delhi through standing counsel civil through all permissible modes…notice will indicate that Government of NCT of Delhi would be required to inform this court in relation to the mode and manner in which the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018 are being implemented and enforced in accordance with law.”
The plea, filed through advocate Supriya Juneja, seeks a direction to the Delhi government and Delhi Animal Welfare Board to check all pet shops in the national capital and take necessary action to ensure strict compliance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1980. The plea has further sought the formation and speedy operation of a state board in terms of the 2018 Rules and the formation of a committee headed by a retired High Court Judge to oversee that the state board is carrying out the enforcement of the Act and the 2018 rules. The plea further seeks a direction to the respondents to conduct an awareness drive and clarify the process of registration of pet shops.