"Street Dogs have the Right to Food, and Citizens have the right to feed them without impinging upon the rights of others” : Delhi High Court

By:Aastha Satpathy5th Year, BBA-LLB(H), Bennett University 


There is a saying by Mr. Kevin O’Leary, “If you want a friend, get a dog”. Protection of Street Dogs or commonly known as Stray dogs has been an ongoing debate since a long time. Street Dogs have been seen as a menace since a long time but slowly there have been various volunteers who have come up with organizations or even at their individual capacity have time and again tried to protect such street dogs. There have been various incidents that have occurred against the volunteers who work for protection of these dogs and also provide food to them. Street Dogs live on the streets and a lot of people do not foster such dogs and someone has to provide food and water to the dogs that is the basic need and dogs are also living organisms like humans and their basic need is also food and shelter which needs to be provided to them. 

In this Article, I would like to establish certain aspects which needs to be done in order to provide protection to the street dogs and also protection and respect towards the volunteers working for this cause. Further, I would also like to state the legal backing and whether any legislation provides for the protection to animals and also discuss about the statement given by the Delhi High Court in its Judgement where the court states that, “Street Dogs have a Right to Food and Citizens have the Right to feed them without impinging upon the rights of others” in the case of Dr. Maya D. Chablani v. Radha Mittal & ors I.A. No. 4164/2021

My aim with this article is to aware the citizens about the presence of such events that takes place in our society which raises a need to provide protection to those innocent animal and also respect those volunteers who work for the cause. 


There are a lot of myths that are attached to Street Dogs and there are various steps that needs to be taken in order to protect the street dogs. It is said that street dogs always attack but it is not true, they only attack when they feel they are being threatened or are sick. Furthermore, street dogs are seen as carriers of rabies but it is not at all true, not all dogs have rabies but dog bites have to be treated nonetheless but if the dog has been vaccinated then it is not needed.  

These myths have led to the happening of torture against those animals as they cannot tell their reality. Furthermore, the volunteers face torture for feeding those street animals which is unfair to them as they are trying to do something good for them and working for protecting those street dogs.  

There are various methods which is the need of the hour to adhere to in order to protect the street dogs and also there is a need to protect the rights of the volunteers who protect and feed those street animals. These volunteers have faced various torture against them or have been shunned for feeding those street dogs. It is necessary to respect those volunteers as they are trying to do a good work as by feeding those dogs, the volunteers are also trying to be friendly with the dogs and then get them vaccinated and sterilized. 

The society by its actions tends to create hurdles for such volunteers and creates an obstacle for those individuals who are trying to be compassion towards the animals. Furthermore, it is necessary to also protect the rights of the animals and not do cruelty against the street dogs because after all these animals are voiceless and helpless creatures. 

Lastly, animals and humans have co-existed on this planet since time immemorial and it is pertinent to protect the animals as well and not torture them or deprive them of the basic needs like food and furthermore, also not create hurdles for the volunteers who are feeding them and violate their right to do so as well. 


In the current scenario, there are various provisions which provides a legal backing to the protection of the animals. The constitution of India lays down the fundamental rights which are available to the citizens of the country. The most crucial fundamental right that is the Right to Life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, clearly establishes protection to all forms of life which also takes into its ambit the animal life. Furthermore, Article 51A(g) of the Constitution of India lays down the protection of wild life and to have compassion towards living creatures and also work towards improving their conditions. These two provisions have been interpreted by the Supreme Court as a means that animals indeed have a right to lead a life of worth, dignity and security.


Furthermore, there have been a lot of legislations and statutes which have been enacted by the Central Government w.r.t the protection of the animals namely the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, which prohibits any individual to cause any pain to the animal and the acts that are considered to be a crime under this statute include the crime to beat, mutilate or administer any injurious substance or do anything so as to kill the animal. This legislation also has under its ambit the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001, which has been framed to lay down the rules in order to sterilize and vaccinate the dogs and then provide them habitat in the same area from where they were picked up prior to being sterilized and vaccinated. 

In this matter, the Constitution of India provides precedence for the statute of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001, over the local laws. According to Section 438 of The Kerala State Municipality Act 1994, which allows the Secretary to give order for the seizure and destruction of  Stray Dogs in a Municipal area. Furthermore, the Animals Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001 has Rule 13, which establishes that when there is any conflict between the rules and the local laws, then in that case the provisions which are in favour to the animal shall prevail. 

The Punjab and Haryana High Court have also given judgments pertaining to the rights of the animals and the birds and further laid down that the citizens are the Guardians of the animal kingdom and this statement was given in the judgment on Animal Welfare Law on June 8, 2019. Furthermore, the judgment also said that the animals which include birds and also the aquatic animals, had a right to life and dignity and won’t be treated as a property and have corresponding rights. Lastly, this judgment laid down certain guidelines for the citizens to adhere to in order to protect the animals. These guidelines states that it is the duty of the citizens to ensure that the Animals are healthy and comfortable and are well-nourished and given habitat in a safe environment. Furthermore, the citizens have to ensure that the animals rights are protected and that they are not being treated as a property or objects. 


In a recent judgment by the Delhi High court, the court stated that ‘Street Dogs have the Right to Food and Citizens have the right to feed them without impinging upon the Right of others.’ This was stated in the landmark case of Dr. Maya D. Chablani v. Radha Mittal & Ors I.A. No. 4164/2021. The main facts of the case was that the defendant in the instant case was restrained from feeding the street dogs near the entrance/exit of the property. Furthermore, in the counsel for the Animal Welfare Board of India also had requested the court to lay down certain guidelines w.r.t the feeding of the street dogs. This judgment also laid down various explanation w.r.t the feeding of dogs and also established the role of Dogs in a society. Furthermore, the case also brings in the provision of Constitution of India that aims to protect and preserve and animal rights and the Constitution of India also provides for the State’s duty under Article 48A that it is the duty of the state to protect and make all possible provisions to safeguard the forests and wildlife. 

The instant matter, also discusses about the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, which was enacted in order to ensure that the animals were treated without any cruelty and there is no pain inflicted upon the animals. Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, has established the Animal Welfare Board of India which would work for the protection of Animals and any pain and suffering. Furthermore, in the landmark case of Citizens for the Welfare and Protection of Animals v. State W.P. (Crl.) 467/2009, laid down the guidelines for feeding of stray dogs and this judgment came in the year 2009.

In its judgment the court went on to state that it has to be the duty and responsibility of the Residents Welfare Association or the Municipal Corporation and all Government authorities and that the enforcement authorities like the Police have to provide all assistance to the feeders and ensure that no hindrance to the volunteers of feeders of the street or community dogs. Further, it would be the duty of the Station House Officer (SHO) of the particular Jurisdiction to ensure that peace and harmony has to eb maintained amongst the residents and the volunteers or the feeders who feed the dogs. 

The court had established that all the dogs are a territorial being and those street dogs have to be fed within their territory and the people who voluntarily are working for feeding the street dogs have to do the same without causing any harm to other people. The court had laid down almost 22 guidelines in reference to the feeding of stray dogs which talk about their rights and that dogs have to be treated with compassion and dignity.

Overall, in the instant case, the guidelines for the protection of dogs and also protect the rights of the volunteers was laid down and maintaining harmony and peace this has to be ensured by the official or government authorities. 


In this article I have tried to bring out the importance of the lives of the animals and especially street dogs have been constantly subjected to torture and it is a need of the hour to establish guidelines to protect the rights of the animals as at the end they are living beings after all. 

The Constitution of India has successfully managed to provide for articles protecting animals and for their welfare. Furthermore, the case of Dr. Maya D. Chablani v. Radha Mittal & Ors, the court has successfully established the guidelines for feeding street dogs and has also given the responsibility of maintaining peace and harmony in the society to the government authorities and the enforcement authorities pertaining to that particular  jurisdiction. The court stated in its judgement that the feeders or the volunteers have the right to feed the street dogs but that should not create any hindrance to other citizens and this has to be ensured by the government officials and has to be the responsibility of the Residents Welfare Association or the Municipal Corporation. 

Furthermore, the Delhi High court also gave order that the Resident Welfare Association have to form a ‘Guard and Dog Partnership’ in consultation with the Delhi Police Dog Squad which would ensure that the street dogs are trained to be guard dogs and still be friendly with the residents of a society. The court went on to establish that dogs have to be fed in certain areas designated for that purpose but those areas have to be the territories of the dogs as they are a territorial being. 

In conclusion, the Delhi High Court discussed at large the rights of the street dogs and that they should be treated with compassion and dignity. The street dogs have the right to be fed and the citizens have the right to feed them but this act should not cause hindrance to other citizens in that particular area. The court clearly laid down the duties and responsibility of the government officials and other authorities that have to ensure a smooth functioning of the society as at the end animals and humans have to co-exist on this planet. 

References :

  1. www.scconline.com 
  2. www.strawindia.com
  3. www.telegraphindia.com 
  4. www.deccanherald.com