Decided on May 31,2007

Common Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


T.S.THAKUR,J. - (1.) NEARLY five years back, a Division Bench of this Court disposed of WP Nos. 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. The Court examined the genesis of the problem of the cattle straying on the roads and acted in public interest to relieve the citizens of the menace which was found 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. Besides, it depicts a very dismal picture of the capital. 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 fulfil 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. The capital city of Delhi Should be a show window for the world. The stray cattle on the roads gives a wrong signal. 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." The writ petition was eventually disposed of with the following directions : "1. The NDMC or the MCD and the Government of NCT of Delhi shall take all possible steps to relocate dairies operating in the municipal zones of Delhi to the outskirts of Delhi. 2. The Delhi Milk Scheme and Mother Dairy should take steps to increase their supply of milk to Delhi and, in doing so, an effort should be made to rope in the unorganized sector so that the distribution is done by the aforesaid tow agencies after collecting milk from the villages on the periphery of Delhi or outside Delhi. This will discourage private parties from opening dairy farms in the city. 3. The MCD and the NDMC shall employ sufficient number of vehicles to ferry the impounded cattle. 4. The MCD, the NDMC and the police department should work together to stop the menace of stray cattle. 5. Co-ordination Committee shall 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 MCD/NDMC shall cancel the licence of a dairy in case 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 located in Delhi shall 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 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. 9. The MCD and the NDMC should employ sufficient number of persons to catch stray cattle and bovine animals. Once they are caught, they shall be impounded and may be released only on payment of fine of at least Rs. 1,000/-each. The vehicles which are used for carrying impounded cattle and bovine animals ought to be fitted with ramps in order to obviate the chance of injury to them. The transit and handling of cattle and bovine animals after being impounded shall be in consonance with the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. 10. The electricity generating companies and the electric supply companies shall disconnect electricity to the unauthorized dairies/dairy colonies with immediate effect."
(3.) FIVE years down the line and dozens of interim orders of this Court later, the problem continues to persist with very little headway made in the direction of effective handling of the same. The result is that stray cattle continue to roam freely on the roads and the citizens continue to suffer official apathy towards the menace. The directions issued by this Court requiring MCD and NDMC 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 strayed out of the premises 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 with immediate effect have been obeyed more in breach than in compliance. All that the respondents have done is to prepare a resettlement scheme for shifting the unauthorized dairies to Ghogha on the outskirts of Delhi, The Resettlement Scheme, a copy whereof has been produced before us, records: "A proper scheme is therefore required to re-settle and rehabilitate the dairy farm activity in Delhi in a planned manner by providing suitable facilities and developing it in a manner which is in conformity with the modern standards. Such colonies should have facilities like cattle sheds, internal roads, supply of electricity, supply of water, sewage disposal, disposal of manure through compost pits and bio-gas plants, fodder sheds, veterinary hospital, parks, community centres, etc. This should be done in a way so that the relocated dairies can be a model not only in Delhi but for other states also." ;

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