The Kerala High Court on Tuesday established that clauses in a bye-law or an agreement that prohibit a person from keeping a pet in their residential premises shall be void and unenforceable in law.
A Division Bench of Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Gopinath P. was adjudicating upon a Public Interest Litigation filed by a person aggrieved by the stand of the office bearers of the resident association of the apartment complex in which he resides.
It was alleged that, by taking shelter under a clause in the bye-laws of the association that prohibits the residents from keeping pets of their choice in their individual apartments, the office bearers of the association have issued notices to him asking him to remove his pet from the premises.
"We allow this writ petition by declaring that clauses in any bye-law or agreement, that have the effect of absolutely prohibiting a person from keeping a pet of his/her choice in a residential unit occupied by that person, should be treated as void and unenforceable in law. Consequently, resident owners' associations and resident welfare associations shall desist from putting up notice boards and signposts prohibiting the keeping or entry of pets in their respective premises."
The order also touches upon the right to life of animals as recognized by the Supreme Court in the case Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja.
Thereafter, the State Government was directed to take note of the suggestions put forth in the judgment to cultivate a healthy respect for animals among the people in the State.
It was also suggested that the Animal Welfare Board of India had issued certain guidelines on this subject through its letter dated 26.02.2015 and that these guidelines could be adopted by the resident associations while stipulating conditions for the keeping of pets in the apartments.