THOSE WHO DESERVE TO BE IN THE DOGHOUSE
The Morning Standard|November 13, 2021
The number of strays in India is declining and will come down even more. If it is not a stray, I don’t understand a person’s antipathy towards a dog
BIBEK DEBROY

The Kerala high Court recently passed a judgment (People for animals versus State of Kerala). Can a society have a by-law or agreement that absolutely prohibits residents from keeping pets? no, it can’t. That will be unconstitutional and void.

Flowing from article 21 of the Constitution, I have the right to keep a pet. However, naturally, every society has the right to frame rules for keeping pets. “While holding such clauses as illegal, unconstitutional and unenforceable, we have to observe that the aforesaid freedoms recognised in animals, and the corelational right recognised in pet owners, is by no means absolute or unconditional and must necessarily be qualified by safeguards designed to protect the competing rights of others including the owners/residents of neighbouring apartments.” There can be rules on the pet riding a general lift, littering at random, or biting as it pleases. Though I said pet, usually, in such cases, one means a dog. The municipality can frame rules on how many dogs can be kept in an apartment or a house and insist on these being registered and vaccinated. I recall Bengaluru’s draft municipal rules from three years ago, where the municipality also sought to determine what breeds could be kept in an apartment, allowing a Labrador or a Dalmatian, but ignoring our very own indie dogs. I think the new version is awaited.

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