SC extends stay on cattle sale notification to whole country

SC extends stay on cattle sale notification to whole country

SC extends stay on cattle sale notification to whole country

The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended a stay, granted by Madras High Court on May 23 notification by the Centre that banned buying of animals from markets for slaughter, to the whole country.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and D Y Chandrachud passed its order after the Union Government represented by Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha submitted that the Centre was reconsidering the fresh rules in view of objections raised by various stake holders.

He also said that the Madurai bench of Madras HC had in June already stayed the notification. "We don't seek vacation of the stay. Please don't pass any interim order," the law officer said.

He also said the fresh rules even after the amendment could not be implemented without a window period of three months as markets were to be notified by the states only.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing a batch of PIL petitioners including Mohammed Abdul Faheem Qureshi, President of Hyderabad-based All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee, submitted that in view of the notification, people were afraid to sell their cattle.

The court prima facie agreed to the plea, observing, "livelihood of people cannot be subjected to uncertainties."

After recording the government counsel's statement, the bench, however, disposed of the PILs with liberty to the petitioners to approach the court again if they were aggrieved with the fresh look on the subject.

The PILs had contended the rule unconstitutionally prohibited the sale of cattle for slaughter imposing absolute ban on the purchase of the animal and violated the fundamental rights of freedom of choice of food. The rule also deprived the persons from doing permissible trade of breeding and raring of animals.

It was further contended the regulations framed by the Union government under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, tend to regulate live stock markets with an intention of preserving protecting and improving stocks, though the legislation on the fields was earmarked for the state legislature. It also pointed out that states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal had already said they would not implement the rules in “the wage of outrage against it for impacting the poor dalits and Muslims”.

“The complete ban of sale or purchase or resale of animals, would cast a huge economic burden on the farmers, cattle traders who find it difficult to feed their children today but would be required to feed the cattle as it is an offence under the Act of 1960 to starve an animal or failure to maintain it and would also give way for Cow Vigilantes to harass farmers and cattle traders under the blessing of the impugned regulations,” the petitioners apprehended.

Besides, the regulation was contrary to Section 28 of the Act which permitted killing of animals for religious purposes. It also offended the right to freedom of religion and conscience and thus was arbitrary, inconsistent and outside the purview of parent act, the petitioner claimed.

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