Judgment of the Delhi High Court regarding animal welfare services in Delhi, 06/09/2023

Judgment of the Delhi High Court in the matter of Rahul Mohod Vs The Govt of NCT Delhi & Others dated 06/09/2023.

The petitioner through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) said that he lost his pet dog to Canine Distemper virus in 2019. Petitioner said that the attending veterinarian failed to timely diagnose the affliction of the deadly virus. Petitioner’s distress was exacerbated when he found that Delhi lacks dedicated animal cremation facilities. He said that the absence of essential vaccines like Canine DHPPi Vaccine (Distemper Combined 9-in-1 Vaccine), exhibits a glaring deficit in modern infrastructure for animal treatment in Delhi. Despite petitioner's efforts in reaching out to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), for provisioning the vaccine and modernization of veterinary hospitals, his pleas remain unacknowledged the applicant said.

Delhi High Court noted that GNCTD knows the importance of the threat posed by the Canine Distemper virus and Parovirus, and is actively vaccinating animals for the same. The decision to prioritize its availability, should fall within the expertise of veterinary specialists. Determining the exigency of combating any virus affecting the well-being of animals requires deliberations amongst experts with niche knowledge and it not the court's jurisdiction to issue directions for a specific vaccination to be made available free of cost to users.

The direction for 24x7 animal ambulance service, para-vets on bikes, changes in school curriculums, creation of a dedicated animal welfare fund, would also entail considerations such as allocation of budgets, infrastructure, personnel and other resources, among other multifaceted issues. These considerations are typically encompassed in government policy-making. As such, these concerns should be addressed by authorities and the court refused to issue a mandamus/writ to that effect.