Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote on Monday to fellow CMs urging them to protest the curbs on the sale of cattle for slaughter. “Unless we oppose this anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular move, it may mark the beginning of similar steps aimed at destroying the federal democratic fabric and secular culture of our country,” he said.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules were “...nothing but a covert attempt to usurp the powers of State legislatures,” he said in a letter.
Mr. Vijayan termed “strange” the Centre’s decision to issue the rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, as they had “nothing to do with the objectives of the Act” and the subjects covered by the Rules belonged to Entries 15 and 28 of the State List. “This impermissible encroachment into the domain of the State legislatures is a clear violation of the spirit of federalism, which is acclaimed as one of the basic features of the Constitution,” he said.
He had no doubt that the rules, which imposed “unreasonable restrictions” on the fundamental right to carry on any trade or occupation under Article 19 (1) (g), would not stand the test of constitutionality. They also violated the basic right of a person to choice of food and had the potential to create a “chaotic situation” in the rural agricultural economy in all the States. “Since the matters dealt with in the Rules squarely fall within the purview of the State legislatures, the State governments may be allowed to formulate necessary policies and laws to suit the socio-economic and milieu of the States,” he said.