Hearing a petition filed by animal lover Durga Rai, a bench of Justices P V Hardas and P N Deshmukh said that status quo be maintained in respect of these dogs which have been granted licence by the civic body after taxes were paid to keep them in the premises.
The Court also ordered the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the co-operative housing society (where the flat was located) not to take away the dogs until the court decides the matter.
The Court granted interim relief as it was argued that a similar matter was pending before the Supreme Court. In view of this, the High Court adjourned the matter till November 25.
Some members of the housing society in Andheri east had complained to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation saying they were facing nuisance because the dogs were kept in the flat. The house where dogs were confined was unclean and a foul smell emanated from there, the members said in the complaint and feared that they may contract diseases.
The BMC, in turn, approached Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and asked them to visit the flat and inspect the premises. However, when the SPCA members went to the house, they were not allowed to come in.
Rai had filed a petition challenging section 191 BA of Brihanmumbai Municipal Act which says that if any dogs are found or reported to be a source of nuisance to the residents of any building or locality, the Municipal Commissioner or any person duly authorised by him may enter any premises for the purposes of seizing such dogs.
The petitioner argued that she had obtained licences for the dogs kept by her and that these animals cannot be taken away and killed.
The High Court had earlier banned killing of dogs. Only those dogs who were rabid can be killed, she said.
The court had earlier appointed a Commissioner to inspect the flat. The Commissioner visited the house and filed a report saying 12 dogs were found in the premises which was found unclean.