No resident welfare association can ban pets
I can see emaciated animals in a shelter. Where can I report the same?
First, report the matter to the authorities who are responsible for running the shelter and discuss how the animals can be helped. They may or may not be aware about this situation. Shelters have very little money and are very overcrowded. The best way you can help is not to take legal action but to help feeding the animals in a shelter. No one starts a shelter in order to abuse animals. But sometimes the lack of money causes it to slowly collapse and harm the same animals it set out to help. Make a list of what the shelter needs and get a group of people to come in everyday with roti, bread, milk, eggs, vegetables, oil, cooked or uncooked grains, bhusa, medicines, deworming tablets, cleaning materials. Contact local hotels and ask if they will give their clean leftovers every day. Start publicising the needs through your social media and facebook and supplying them. A shelter does not belong to one person. It belongs to the community and everybody needs to step in to help.
If the condition still does not improve, register a complaint with the police under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960. Not taking adequate care of the animals by the owner (In this case, the shelter authorities) amounts to animal cruelty. However, do not forget to gather adequate evidence, such as voice recordings, photographic evidence and witness statements in order to make your case strong. In order to register an FIR, you need to visit your local police station. The FIR is basically a written document that is prepared by the police, which has the details about your complaint (For example: locality, time, name of the complainant, alleged activity, etc.) Note, that there are no charges for filing an FIR. After that, the police conduct investigation, which may include arrests. Once the investigation has been concluded the police will record all their findings in a charge sheet. If it is deemed that there is enough proof on the charge sheet the case goes to court. The court proceedings include the hearing of arguments, cross-examination, witness statements and presentation of other evidences etc. Thereafter, you can also take measures to transfer the animals to another shelter and help in their rescue and ultimate wellbeing.
My residential society has banned pets. Is there any action that I can take?
According to a circular of the Animal Welfare Board of India, dated 26 February 2015, Resident Welfare Associations cannot ban pets. The Supreme Court of India has considered pets as family members. First contact the secretary of the RWA and inform him that an RWA is technically unrecognised by the law and cannot frame laws that contradict the existing laws. Then send a legal notice naming the president and secretary . State privacy issues and harassment as part of the complaint. If they do not change their illegal orders, you can file a complaint in the consumer court (residents are consumers according to law) against your RWA. In order to file a complaint, first identify the jurisdiction of the court under which the complaint is to be filed (territorial jurisdiction according to your district).
You will be required to pay a prescribed fee along with your complaint, accompanied with the authorization letter and your signature. Don't forget to mention the name, description and address of the complainant and the name, description, address of the opposite party or parties against whom relief is claimed. You also need to provide the copies of all the documents supporting your allegations. You can also ask for compensation costs which should be specifically alleged in the complaint. Besides compensation, you can also ask for the refunds, damages, litigation costs, and interest amount. You are also required to file an affidavit along with the complaint that facts stated in the complaint are true and correct. Thereafter, the case proceedings shall begin.
(Views expressed and information provided are personal; Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org)