Madras High Court sets aside DGFT ban on import of dogs


The Madras High Court has overturned the Directorate General of Foreign Trade’s (DGFT) April 25, 2016 notification prohibiting the import of dogs into the country, providing a victory for dog lovers across the nation.

Points to Ponder:

  • Background: Dog imports into India were prohibited by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), with a few exceptions made for specific uses.
  • Writ Petitions: The Kennel Club of India (KCI), Madras Canine Club (MCC), and a private dog lover by the name of C.R. Bhaalakkrishna Bhat filed three writ petitions contesting the prohibition.
  • Lack of Scientific Study: According to Justice Anita Sumanth, the DGFT ban was announced without doing the appropriate scientific research or exercising due diligence.
  • The cause of the Ban is: Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, the former Union Minister for Women and Child Development, sent a letter to the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries that catalyzed the prohibition. The letter demanded a complete ban on dog imports, citing worries about potential infection spread and dangers to local species.
  • Insufficient Justification: The judge refuted the worries expressed in the letter, claiming that tests and quarantines could successfully allay worries about the importation of foreign illnesses into India. Therefore, the worry about the spread of disease was insufficient to support the ban.
  • Native Dog Breeds: The judge recognised the value of defending and safeguarding indigenous Indian dog breeds. She countered that accomplishing this objective would not call for a total ban on the importation of foreign dogs for use in commercial purposes. She instead emphasised the necessity of control and moral breeding practises.
  • Tamil Nadu Government’s Role: The judge directed the Tamil Nadu government to formulate regulations for the commercial breeding of dogs within eight weeks. These regulations should be presented before the court on August 5.