August 13, 2016 1:02:51 am
The Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Pune, on August 8, issued summons in a two-year-old case of animal cruelty against leader of Nationalist Congress Party and Member of Parliament Vandana Chavan and her sister-in-law on the basis of a complaint filed by her neighbour, Professor Vijay Shridhar Navdikar.
Professor Navdikar said, “I fought a long and tedious battle for the past two years for getting justice for all my cats, especially one male cat who is now permanently disabled because of the cruelty inflicted on him by the accused. It is painful for me to see him in a state where he still has difficulty to move around and his life is confined to a small area. I will continue to fight for his rights. I was harassed continuously by the police and the Pune Municipal Corporation. However, I was strongly supported by the animal lovers’ community.”
Navdikar stays on the third floor of the building where Chavan stays on the ground floor and he owns six cats. It has been alleged that Chavan found the cats a nuisance.
She had complained about it to the police as well as the PMC.
Navdikar’s complaint, filed two years ago, said, “On July 10, 2014, in the afternoon, when the complainant was in his gallery with his daughter, he heard the loud cries of his cats. All the cats were missing… He and his daughter immediately rushed to the ground floor of the apartment and saw two male cats maimed and crawling. The accused threw away wooden sticks and iron rods and ran inside the house.”
Navdikar has alleged that at various times, the accused using her political clout harassed him through the police department and the PMC officials.
On the other hand, to get rid of the cats, Chavan had filed a chapter case against Navdikar with the Vishrambaug police station under Section 133 of CrPC for causing ‘public nuisance’. The ACP had then ordered Nadvikar to remove all the cats within 48 hours.
The PMC had also issued an order to remove the cats, Navdikar claimed.
The order was challenged before the sessions court which issued notices to the police department and the PMC, seeking to know the legality of such orders.
On August 8, JMFC found that the material on record was substantial enough to issue summons against the accused — Chavan and her sister-in-law. The next date of hearing is October 4.
Animal Rights Advocate Harshad Garud said, “I was quite shocked at the cruelty meted to the cats and yet my client was being targeted by the police as well as the PMC.”
Meher Mathrani, Animal Welfare Officer, Animal Welfare Board of India, said, “I have been fighting against the harassment and humiliation of pet owners and this is a classic case of injustice to animals and people who love animals. The animal became a victim of violence and the police refused to take any action against the abuser, rather sided with the person who harmed the animals.”
City NCP chief and Rajya Sabha MP Vandana Chavan said that she had not received any summons so far. “I had led the housing society members in filing a police complaint against Navdikar for causing ‘public nuisance’. We filed the case against him,” she said.
“The allegations made by Navdikar are completely false,” Chavan said, adding his pet cats had got injured due to some other reason.
She said that the entire housing society was suffering due to the unhygienic condition created by the cats as they moved around freely, outside the doors of other residents. “There are health concerns as the owner of the pet cats does not manage them properly,” Chavan said.
The police and the PMC authorities had acted on the complaint of the society after verifying it, she added.
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