State backs writ in HC against cattle sale ban

Centre had encroached on its powers under the Constitution, it says

Published - May 29, 2017 07:51 pm IST - KOCHI

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday adjourned to May 31 the hearing on a public interest writ petition challenging the Centre’s ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets across the country under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017.

The Bench adjourned the hearing to enable the Assistant Solicitor General, representing the Centre, to make his submission.

When the petition filed by T.G. Sunil, State general secretary of the Youth Congress, was taken up for preliminary hearing, his counsel sought a stay on the implementation of the rules.

The Government Pleader, supporting the plea of the petitioner, submitted that as the preservation, protection and improvement of stock, prevention of animal diseases, and veterinary training and practice came under the State list, only the State had the power to make any regulations on cattle.

The Centre had encroached on the power of the State government. He pointed out that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA) allowed slaughter of animals for human consumption.

Union government counsel contended that directive principles under Article 48 of the Constitution allowed prohibition of slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle. Therefore,the Centre had the power to make rules relating to the regulation of cattle.

The petitioner said the ban was unconstitutional as it directly encroached on the State government’s powers. It was also against the basic structure of the Constitution. The Centre's action was an intrusion into the life and personal liberty of an individual.

The new rules had no nexus whatsoever with the objects sought to be achieved by the PCA Act. The rules might adversely affect the religious harmony in the State and create religious tension in several parts of the State.

Ernakulam MLA, Hibi Eden, and two other meat traders have also filed separate writ petitions against the ban.

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