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Cattle trade ban: Kerala HC backs Modi govt; state left embarrassed

Kerala High Court observed that there is no ban on cattle slaughter or consuming meat but the bill


In a related development, beef prices have nearly doubled in the national capital and its adjoining areas due to supply shortage

Hours after the Government opposed the order notice issued by the Central Environment Ministry in controlling the sale of cattle, the state High Court on Wednesday backed the Centre's decision.

The High Court observed that there is no ban on cattle slaughter or consuming meat but the bill only bans large-scale sale of cattle through big markets.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh observed that its interference in the Centre's notification was not warranted.

The bench said it could not see any prohibition in selling and consumption of in the notification. A public interest petition on the central law was filed by Sunil, a Youth Congress activist.

The petitioner had contended that the notification violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Art 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution and that it should be quashed.

It came before Chief Justice Navniti Prasad, who said that nothing has been banned as is being spoken about now.

"If anyone reads it properly, the present law prevailing in the country along with the new order that came out none will not have come to this sort of conclusion. There is no ban on slaughter or sale of What has been said in the new order is that mass sale of cattle for slaughter through the cattle market is banned," observed the Chief Justice.

When the Advocate General C.P. Sudhakara Prasad pointed out the ruling of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court that stayed the new order, the Chief Justice expressed surprise about it.

But Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, after presiding over a cabinet meeting in the state capital, told reporters that the move by the Centre is nothing but infringing on the rights of the state government.

"The Centre through new laws is trying to wriggle into the rights of the state government, and this is a clear violation of democratic principles and will not be allowed," said Vijayan.

"There are a number of clauses which are violating the state's basic rights. There are certain norms that the animal marketing committee has to look into. For example, the owner and buyer have to maintain a certificate which is not feasible and thereby we have decided to question the law in the court of law," he added.

He further announced that they will discuss the issue with opposition party leaders and summon a special assembly to discuss the issue.

"Union Governments order not only prevents the killing of animals but also prevents the sale of cattle also. It has to be examined that whether Centre has the power to issue this order. Will discuss the issue with opposition party leader and summon a special assembly to discuss the issue," he added.

The state cabinet will hold a special meet again on Thursday to discuss on the way forward. The opposition has demanded a separate assembly session to discuss the issue, which would also be discussed at Thursday's cabinet meeting.

The High Court's observation came a day after the Madras High Court's Madurai bench stayed for four weeks the the Centre's contentious notification on two PILs.

First Published: Thu, June 01 2017. 09:34 IST