Delhi govt investing in skill development of veterinary personnel: HC

 The Delhi government is looking into immediate health care requirements of animals and also investing in the training and skill development of veterinary personnel with the construction of a college, the Delhi High Court has said.

The high court said the state government is also seized of the threat posed by the Canine Distemper (CD) virus and Paravirus in animals and is actively vaccinating them for the same.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula said welfare of animals is a noble cause, in line with the Directive Principle of State Policy as prescribed in the Constitution. However, the decision to prioritise availability of the vaccine, should fall within the expertise of veterinary specialists.

The court’s order came on a petition by Rahul Mohod, who lost his pet dog to the CD virus in 2019.

The petitioner said there is absence of essential vaccines like Canine DHPPi vaccine (Distemper Combined 9-in-1 vaccine) which exhibits a glaring deficit in modern infrastructure for animal treatment in Delhi.

The high court said the petitioner, as a devoted animal rights enthusiast, perceives the efforts taken by the authorities as inadequate and he expects respondents to enhance healthcare facilities for animals and prioritise availability of a specific vaccine.

“It is evident that the Delhi government is not only addressing immediate health-care requirements of the animals but is also investing in the training and skill development of veterinary personnel through construction of a veterinary college,” the bench said.

The Delhi government was represented through standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi and advocate Arun Panwar.

It said while the court recognises and appreciates the petitioner’s concerns, it is imperative to emphasise that decisions surrounding allocation of government funds for animal welfare services and prioritising availability of vaccines for specific disease should be left to the domain of experts who are adept in gauging the complexities of these issues.

The bench said determining the exigency of combating any virus affecting the well-being of animals requires deliberations amongst experts with niche knowledge and it is not the court’s jurisdiction to issue directions for a specific vaccination to be made available free of cost to users.

“The direction for 24×7 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 multi faceted issues.

“These considerations are typically encompassed in government policy-making. As such, we believe these concerns should be addressed by respondents, and we are not inclined to issue a mandamus to that effect,” it said.

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The bench added that the Delhi government, with its machinery and expertise, is best equipped to deliberate, design, and deploy welfare measures, for humans as well as animals.

It said governance is a delicate balancing act, where the state must allocate its limited resources judiciously, ensuring that it addresses an array of challenges, both immediate and long-term.

“The court believes that the government is best positioned to undertake such decisions after carefully weighing all variables. The petitioner’s concerns, while genuine and deeply felt, represent but one among many pressing issues the state grapples with.

“Asserting priority over one issue invariably means de-prioritising another, a decision fraught with its complexities and intricacies. Such decisions would involve consultations with experts and perhaps even the public, to deliberate appropriate action,” it said.

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