SC notice to Centre on buffalo traders plea

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Union government on a plea by Buffalo Traders Welfare Association challenging the validity of 2017 notifications allowing the authorities to seize the vehicles used in cattle transportation and to send the animals to 'Gaushala' (cow shelter homes).

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and B R Gavai issued a notice to the Centre on the petition which claimed such notifications travelled beyond the provisions of the parent law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

The petitioner, a Delhi-based organisation of cattle traders, was represented by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde and advocate Sanobar Ali Qureshi.

It challenged provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on May 23, 2017 for being unconstitutional and illegal.

In a separate case, though the apex court had on July 11, 2018 recorded the statement of the Union Government, that the rules would be reconsidered and renotified, there were instances showing that the trial court as well as other authorities started implementing the notification and declining to release the vehicles and animals.

The organisation, through its president Mohd Aqil Qureshi, claimed that in the wake of the notifications with regard to rules, transporters, cattle traders and farmers faced threats due to anti-social elements taking law in their own hands.

“This results in frequent lootings of the animals in violation of the rule of law. Certain groups got emboldened to take the law into their own hands. Moreover, these incidents are acting as triggers for communal polarization of the society, and, if not halted effectively and immediately, those will have disastrous consequences on the social fabric of the country,” the petitioner claimed.

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