Delhi High Court Sets Aside Central Government Circular Banning Certain Breeds of Dogs

Delhi High Court overturns Central govt.'s ban on "ferocious" dog breeds, citing lack of stakeholder consultation.

The Delhi High Court, led by a Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, has invalidated a circular issued by the Central government that prohibited the import, breeding, and sale of certain breeds of "ferocious dogs." The Court's decision was prompted by the acknowledgment from the Central government's counsel that private stakeholders were not consulted before the ban was imposed.

In response to this procedural flaw, the Court ordered the setting aside of the contentious circular, directing the government to issue a fresh notification after affording all stakeholders an opportunity to voice their objections. The Bench emphasized the necessity of soliciting objections from stakeholders, recognizing the impracticality of conducting oral hearings for every dog owner. Consequently, the government was instructed to issue a public notice in national newspapers and on its website, inviting written objections to the proposed regulations within a two-week timeframe.

"The objections filed in response to the advertisement/publication on the website shall be examined and decided by the respondents before issuing the final notification."

Advocates representing various parties engaged in the legal proceedings, including Nikhil Palli, Kshitij Pal, and Arinjay Singh for the petitioners, Gaurav Varma for the Canine Welfare Organisation, Rajesh Gogna along with Neha Sharma, Priya Singh, and Karnika Bahuguna for the Animal Welfare Board of India, and Prtha Srikumar, Anusha Murti, and Atharv Gupta for PETA.

The Court's directives came in the disposition of petitions challenging the Central government's decision to ban 23 breeds categorized as "ferocious dogs." This ban, initiated by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, encompassed breeds including Pitbull Terrier, Tosa Inu, Rottweiler, and others.