Karnataka govt mulling Rs 5 lakh compensation in dog bite death cases, HC told

The Karnataka government on Wednesday submitted before the High Court that a discussion of stakeholders called by the Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department discussed payment of compensation of Rs five lakh to families of people who die due to dog bites.

It also discussed Rs 5,000 as compensation for those who suffer injuries.

The HC directed that another meeting be held within four weeks to come up with a comprehensive plan.

Hearing a public interest litigation regarding seeking implementation of the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, the HC directed the government to give wide publicity to the guidelines issued with regard to feeding of street animals and conflict resolution.

“There cannot be a dispute on the aspect that unless steps are taken to make the public at large…made aware of guidelines, there shall be no effective implementation of guidelines and, to achieve this purpose, the State can certainly give wide publicity to these guidelines in the official websites of the state government,” the division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit said.

The HC also suggested that the State can circulate pamphlets, make announcements on TV and in cinema halls if necessary. It said that these were mere suggestions and the government can explore all possible ways to get across the message to the public.

The PIL was filed by Tumakuru-based advocate Ramesh Naik L.

During the earlier hearing on October 5, the HC had directed the State to submit the measures taken to address issues of stray dogs and how the Animal Welfare Board of India’s (AWBI) guidelines to be followed by people who feed stray dogs was being implemented.

While the guidelines permit feeding of street animals in specific places, the HC had noted that people fed animals even at the gates of ‘Vidhana Soudha’ and Cubbon Park and places where such acts put school children in danger.

On Wednesday, the government advocate informed the court that after the court’s direction on October 5, a meeting was held with stakeholders on October 6 regarding the implementation of the guidelines.

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The HC granted the State four more weeks to conduct another meeting with the stakeholders and adjourned the case by six weeks.

The AWBI Guidelines on Pet and Street/Stray Dogs were issued in 2015.

During the earlier hearing in October, the HC had said that these guidelines “certainly take into consideration a bonafide object of a citizen to feed street dogs and at the same time, a duty is cast upon such a citizen that the activity shall not cause any disturbance, hindrance or health hazard to his fellow citizen.”

Referring to the instances of children being bitten by dogs, the HC had directed the State to respond with “appropriate remedial measures”.

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