Panchkula Court accepts stray cattle menace is Public Nuisance in law: Tells authorities to file action taken report by 23rd October

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Panchkula

27 September 2018

DIVYA AZAD

The Court of Sh. Kanwal Kumar, ACS (SD) today passed orders accepting that the stray cattle menace amounts to “Public Nuisance” in law. The court allowed the application of Chandgothia couple under Section 91 of the CPC to agitate the matter against the governmental authorities in public interest.

The Court had earlier issued notices to Chief Secretary Haryana, DC, Panchkula, Mayor and Commissioner, MC, Pkl and DGOP Haryana on a public interest petition filed by Advocate Pankaj Chandgothia and his wife Sangeeta, seeking “freedom” from the stray cattle menace.

All the respondents appeared before the court and sought time to file reply to the petition. The court has asked them to file the action taken report by 23rd October, 2018.

SECTION 91 of CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE reads as under:

  1. Public nuisances.-(1) In the case of a public nuisance or other wrongful act affecting or likely to affect, the public, a suit for a declaration and injunction or for such other relief as may be appropriate in the circumstances of the case, may be instituted,—

(a) by the Advocate-General, or

(b) with the leave of the court, by two or more persons, even though no special damage has been caused to such persons by reason of such public nuisance or other wrongful act.

In his petition filed under Section 91 of Civil Procedure Code, Chandgothia has termed the stray cattle menace as a public nuisance. He said that the commuting public in Panchkula is in constant danger and risk of meeting with accidents due to various deficiencies and negligence on the part of the defendants, who all are liable to ensure the safety and welfare of the citizens. The greatest lurking danger is of STRAY CATTLE (“cattle” is a common name used to refer to all animals such as buffaloes, stray dogs etc.) who have a free run on the roads and public places of Panchkula. Stray Cattle are often found sitting or moving in the middle of busy roads, leading to sudden breaking by vehicles, giving rise to the risk of accidents and resultantly injuries and loss of life and also damage to vehicles. This malaise has been highlighted by the print media many times, but the concerned authorities are turning a blind eye to the grave problem.

Chandgothia contended that there is no proper agency nor co-ordination between the various functionaries to strictly deal with the problem of stray cattle menace in the city. A special cell needs to be created with representatives from all concerned department including the administration, municipal council/corporation and police, in order to deal with this problem. The stray cattle must be immediately removed from the streets/roads/public places and a scheme needs to put in place to prevent them from coming on to roads and public spaces, to ensure the safety of the general public.

It is pointed out that the authorities can also take penal action and register FIRs against the guilty persons under Section 268, 283, 289 and 290 and 291 of IPC. In addition, criminal action can also be taken under sections 337 and 338 of IPC.

Chandgothia has also sought a compensation policy wherein the administration should be held liable to compensate any person who suffers on account of the stray cattle menace. The police must register an FIR in every such case.

Chandgothia had also served a legal notice dated 26th April, 2018 upon the authorities, in this respect. The authorities also claimed that Panchkula will be fully free of stray cattle by 15th August, 2018. But when this did not happen, Chandgothia was forced to file this petition seeking action against the defendants.

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