March 20, 2018

Ban on cattle sale for slaughter: Madras High Court stays government's order

31 May 2017, 12:57 | Rex Hubbard

A caretaker guides calves through the door at a cow shelter in New Delhi

Cattle trade ban

Chennai: Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has stayed the Centre's cattle trade ban for four weeks amid protests from states like Kerala and West Bengal.

A high court in Southern India temporarily blocked a government ban on the sale of cows for slaughter that was imposed last week.

The petitioners from Tamil Nadu objected to the ban, saying it infringed on their right to eat what they choose.

An interim order to this effect was passed by a division bench comprising Justice M V Muralidharan and Justice CV Karthikeyan on a PIL filed by Selvagomathi and Asik Elahi Baba. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee stated that her government will challenge it in the court of law.

Further, the new rules also offend the right to freedom of religion and conscience.

Advocate and managing trustee of Madurai-based Justice Shivaraj V.Patil Foundation for Social Legal Education and Development, S.Selvagomathy filed a writ petition seeking an interim stay from the court of the operation of the Centre's notification (2017 Rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act) pending disposal of the writ petition.

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The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) had last week notified new rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which bans sale of cattle for slaughter in open markets across the country.

The recent notification of the Centre has triggered widespread protests in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Indian states have the power to pass their own laws on cattle slaughter and beef consumption, but the new rules come under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which is applied across India.

The slaughter of cows is banned in most states in India, but beef is consumed fairly commonly in a number of states in the South and in the Northeast.

The Kerala CM had also written to all state governments seeking support over the matter. In one instance, a Dalit family was flogged for skinning a dead cow in Gujarat's Una, while a Muslim man was beaten to death in Dadri near Delhi on suspicion of storing and consuming beef. It had agreed to an urgent hearing of a plea against the new rules.

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