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THE LUCKNOW Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday directed the UP government to look into the applications seeking licences or registration of slaughterhouses, meat shops and other related establishments, stating that bringing such activities “to a grinding halt” interferes “with the right of trade and business”.
A division bench of Justices Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Sanjay Harkauli passed the order while hearing a bunch of 27 petitions challenging the state government’s March 22 order to shut down unregistered or unlicensed slaughterhouses and meat shops.
“We are of the considered opinion that before taking any further precipitate action, the state ought to have called upon the state-level committee, as directed by the Supreme Court, to undertake this exercise to consider all the aspects, more particularly the practical aspects, not only with regard to urban areas but also with regard to rural areas where such a crisis can be clearly visualised in the absence of any infrastructure being available for the effective implementation of the Acts and Rules,” said the court.
“We, therefore, hereby direct the state government to undertake this exercise through the said state-level committee and make it known to the public at large, through effective notifications and publications for everyone involved in such food trade or business, to undertake such measures that may be required for either registration or licensing, and, at the same time, ensure that such activities, particularly where there are no facilities available, are not brought to a grinding halt, thereby interfering not only with the right of trade and business but also resulting in an impediment in supply of animal food stuff either in the urban or rural areas,” said the court.
“This is necessary to prevent any chaotic situation, but at the same time the state government can take appropriate steps in accordance with law for preventing any unlawful activity. These plans could have been ensured had the state government itself undertaken this exercise of looking to its past performance and its obligations to be discharged in future. To this extent, we find that the cause and apprehension expressed by the petitioners of resulting in violation of rights therefore deserves to be noticed by the state government itself,” it said.
The court said the state-level committee should thoroughly examine and assess all possibilities, and assist the state government to undertake a policy decision in accordance with law.
On issuing of licences to slaughterhouses, meat shops and other such businesses, the court said the state government is under an obligation to assess and make provisions to encourage private entrepreneurship.
The court also said all petitioners and others who want to apply for registration or licences could do so, and it shall be obligatory on the part of the respective authorities to assess and pass orders, informing the applicants about the same. The local bodies shall be obliged to consider and grant no-objection certificates as and where required, the court said.
“In the event of any doubt about the exercise of such powers, the matter shall be reported to the state government forthwith, and the government shall be under an immediate obligation to convey its directions for exercise of powers to the concerned authorities. Any slackness or any overdoing shall be avoided while implementing these directions,” said the court.
The court directed the state government to file an affidavit regarding the exercise undertaken by the state-level committee on the next date of hearing fixed for July 17.