Cattle sale ban has nothing to do with state laws: Jaitley

Rejects criticism that Centre is trying to enforce beef ban

Cattle sale ban has nothing to do with state laws: Jaitley

The Centre on Thursday said that a recent notification on cattle trade “had nothing to do” with the slaughter of cattle,  which is governed by the respective state laws.

“The clarification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (via a notification) has nothing to do with the state laws. This only deals with who can buy cattle from the farmers’ market and who can’t,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The animal markets are meant for farmers and not for traders, Jaitley said at a press conference, adding, “This is the only effect of the notification.”

“Every state has its own legislation or no legislation (with regard to the slaughter of cattle). The ban will not override the state laws. The existing laws are continuing and the notification has nothing to do with state legislations with regard to not allowing the slaughter of cattle,” said Jaitley, who also  holds the defence portfolio.

He said, “You have a provision in the Constitution, Article 48 (Directive Principles), which says that certain category of animals has to be protected.”

Jaitley was replying to a question on three chief ministers, including from Kerala and West Bengal, writing to the Centre opposing the notification regulating cattle trade in which animals cannot be sold for slaughter.

“Since the 1950s, right from Nehru’s era, state after state have been framing legislations. Now there are two categories of states — ones which have prohibited slaughter, others which have not. Those laws are continuing,” he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said on Monday that the Centre’s decision was unconstitutional. She described the ban as an attempt to “encroach upon the state’s power”.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, too, urged other non-BJP chief ministers to raise their voice against the restrictions on cattle trade, saying the Centre’s “anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular move” is an attempt to usurp power from the state governments.

Under the notification, titled the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, those who wish to sell cattle — bulls, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and camels — may do so only after they formally state that the animals have not been “brought to the market for sale for slaughter”.

Buyers of cattle at animal markets will have to prove they are agriculturalists and declare that they will not sell the animals for a period of six months from the date of purchase.

The rules, notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on May 23,  also says buyers should “follow the state cattle protection and preservation laws” and “not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose”. The rules also prohibit cattle purchased from animal markets from being sold outside the state, without permission.

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