Contract to Catch Stray Dogs Cancelled by Panchayat: Notice to Maneka Gandhi by Kerala High Court

On Wednesday, the Kerala High Court sends notice to Mrs Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister Women and Child Development in response to a petition regarding the threat of stray dogs in Kerala. The petitioner asserts that after a direction through telephone from the office of the minister, the panchayat had withdrawn the contract to catch stray dogs. The notice was issued by Justice V Chitambaresh at the time of admission hearing of the petition initiated by Sebastian Mathew from Ernakulam. The Court ordered urgent notice to the Union Minister. As the matter was urgent, the Court ordered the notice to be sent through speed post.

The petitioner had entered into a contract with the Ayavana  panchayat for catching 100 stray dogs. But the panchayat cancelled the contract by issuing an order by panchayat secretary dated 10th October. It was stated in the order that the contract was cancelled as a result of the direction from the office of the Union Minister through telephone. The petitioner also produced copy of the order issued by the panchayat before the court. According to the contract, the petitioner had to catch 100 stray dogs. Thereafter the dogs will be handed over to Snehalayam which is  Tamil Nadu based firm that provides shelter to the dogs.

The reason for the issue of order was the increasing incidents of persons being attacked by stray dogs particularly children, cattle etc. The petitioner asked the court to direct  panchayat to show cause for the issuing of such order and to quash the order issued by the Panchayat. According to the petitioner, the Union Ministry does not have the authority to intrude into the license granted by the Panchayat as per the provisions of Kerala Panchayath Raj Act, 1994. The petitioner was arrested by the police alleging that he had killed seven stray dogs few days ago but was released on bail.

Adv. Jewel Panicker