[Stray Dog Attacks] Supreme Court urged to take suo motu cognizance of issue

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"High Courts are taking this into consideration on their level, but action is required from Supreme Court..", bench was told today

The Supreme Court was today urged to take suo motu cognizance of the rise in attacks on humans by stray dogs across the country.

A CJI DY Chandrachud led bench remarked that it would look into the situation.

This issue came to light when a counsel with a bandage on his hand appeared before the bench also comprising Justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra.

Concerned with the counsel's well-being, CJI asked him as to what had happened to his hand.

To this, the counsel replied saying that he was attacked by 4-5 stray dogs today morning.

At this point, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was also present in court submitted that stray dogs had become a big menace. He referred to a recent incident and added, "..just two days back a video was circulated on social media, a child was bitten by a dog and he did not get the requisite medical treatment, when they went to the doctor, the parents were told nothing can be done now, it was heart wrenching to watch, the child was in his father's arms, the father was crying..".

The CJI went on to ask the counsel if he required medical attention.

Exactly one year back, the State of Kerala had approached the Supreme Court seeking a permit to euthanize or cull violent and vicious stray dogs, in particular, those dogs which are suspected of having contracted rabies. 

It was the State government's case that while the State Act and Rules provide for ‘destruction of dogs’ that are violent or rabid, no culling is being undertaken currently as it is regarded as contrary to the Central Rules. The government of Kerala had also issued a Government Order on 15th September 2022 to deal with various aspects relating to the human-animal conflict situation in the backdrop of the increasing number of stray dog attack cases in the State.

In a similar vein, a plea was filed before the Supreme Court by Kerala Pravasi Association seeking a direction for constituting an independent expert committee to study the efficacy of the Intra Dermal Rabies Vaccines currently being administered to Humans, on account of the number of deaths that have occurred despite timely administration of the vaccines.

Furthermore, a direction has been sought to the Union of India to give wide publicity and to ensure proper and uniform implementation of the National Guidelines for Rabies Prophylaxis, 2019 with appropriate revisions from time to time as per the latest developments and scientific evidences endorsed by the World Health Organisation.