Other States

Issue fresh licences for meat traders: HC

Meat traders staging a protest against denial of licence in Meerut in April.

Meat traders staging a protest against denial of licence in Meerut in April.  

The Allahabad High Court on Friday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to start issuing fresh licences and no-objection certificates (NOCs) to meat traders in the State while also renewing existing licences.

The court also rejected the State’s contention that ensuring the functioning and modernisation of slaughterhouses was not its responsibility and said the responsibility for constructing slaughterhouses lay with the local municipal corporations. It also said the State could not prevent people from eating meat.

Order on PIL pleas

A Lucknow Division Bench of Justices A.P Shahi and Sanjai Harkauli passed the interim order while hearing a bunch of 27 PIL petitions filed against the blanket shutting down of slaughterhouses and meat shops in the State after the BJP came to power in March.

The court also directed the State to file its reply by July 17, the next date of hearing, and apprise it of the steps taken to find a solution to the issue of slaughterhouses and meat shops.

The court said it was giving the State “ample time” to “gear up its machinery for taking positive action in the matter.”

The court directed the concerned departments of the State and local bodies to renew the licenses of slaughterhouses and also issue licences based on prescribed norms. The local bodies will obliged to consider and grant No Objection Certificates as and where required under the 2011 Regulations, it said.

Allow lawful activity

“The inaction of the State Government in the past should not be a shield for imposing a state of almost prohibition. To provide an immediate check on unlawful activity should be simultaneous with facilitating the carrying of lawful activity, particularly that relating to food, food habits and vending thereof that is undisputedly connected with the right to life and livelihood,” the court said it its order.

The court also directed the State to circulate the order among all Divisional Commissioners and District Magistrates in the State as well as local bodies so that they can provide all material to the State for implementation of the policy and removal of all obstacles.

Soon after coming to power, the Yogi Adityanath government had directed administrative and police authorities to shut down or seal slaughterhouses in the State which according to it were running unlawfully or were unregistered. However, with the abattoirs, the State also shut down meat shops, throwing thousands of livelihoods into crisis. Those involved in the trade had argued that the action was arbitrary and violated their right to livelihood.

The State had contended that it was under no obligation to construct slaughter houses or make provisions for them and was merely acting against illegal setups in accordance with the norms of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

V. K Singh, counsel for the meat traders, said the court’s order was a clear “rejection” of the State’s stand.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 6:15:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/issue-fresh-licences-for-meat-traders-hc/article18441545.ece

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