New Delhi (India): The Central government on Tuesday requested more time to file a response in the Delhi High Court on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) application seeking to implement the provisions of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Disease in Animal Act, 2009 and National Action Plan for control and eradication of glanders in horses, mules, ponies, and donkeys in Delhi.
A bench of single-judge Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva adjourned the hearing till April 15 for further hearing.
Meanwhile, the court was informed that respondent Delhi Government, East Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Police, and Traffic Police have filed the response.
Delhi Police has told the Delhi High Court that tongas (horse carts) are seldom found within the majority of areas in the national capital and in case any horse carts are found to be disrupting the traffic on the roads, necessary action restricting the movement or requiring removal of the tonga from the roads has been taken from time to time.
It also said that legal provisions, which have been laid down regarding this are being implemented. South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has also filed an affidavit in the matter stating that the veterinary department takes regular action against illegal plying of tongas in its area. SDMC also told the court that it has issued licenses to 135 buggies for being used in ceremonies including marriage.
The court was hearing an application filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) seeking to implement the provisions of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Disease in Animal Act, 2009 and the National Action Plan for control and eradication of glanders in horses, mules, ponies, and donkeys in Delhi.
PETA India, in its application, has sought a direction to the Delhi government to test all the horses, mules, ponies, and donkeys in the national capital immediately.
The application has said that despite there being a complete ban on plying of horse-drawn carts on roads of Delhi, authorities are brazenly permitting the carts to be plied in Delhi thereby jeopardizing not only the safety and security of the residents of Delhi but also undermining the risk, torture and cruelty meted out to the equines.
That entire Delhi is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, which compelled the government to lock down the entire country, and the said directions are continuing till date and the virus has created turmoil in the life of the people, the plea has said.
It has said that the outbreak of another disease like glanders in the horses, mules, and donkeys, and its transmission to humans will lead to catastrophe and will create havoc for the people of Delhi.
The petitioner had apprehended that if the authorities fail to take timely action in preventing the spread of zoonotic disease, same may lead to the death of not only mute and helpless animals but may also claim several human lives.