The Kerala High Court on Wednesday declined to stay the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 (Rules) that ban the sale of cattle for slaughter in livestock markets. The bench has decided to hear the case on June 28. The development comes a week after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan opposed the central government’s decision to ban sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter at animal markets and appealed to his counterparts in all other states to object to the “covert attempt to usurp the powers of the state legislature in the guise of rules under a Central Act”. Vijayan has also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to withdraw the ban.
Several petitions were filed against the ban in Kerala High Court including one by Congress MLA Haibi Eden which argue that the subject of animal markets come under the state list. According to other petitions, the decision is aimed at breaking religious amity in society.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is set to hear a plea challenging the same on June 15. The plea has been filed by a Hyderabad-based organisation.
The Madras High Court had earlier stayed the Centre’s notification banning cattle sale for four weeks. Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal saw several protests following the ban. ‘Beef fests’ were organised at various places where protesters cooked beef and freely distributed it to the public.
Two such protests had become embroiled in controversy, one in Kerala and the other in Tamil Nadu. In Kerala, Youth Congress workers allegedly slaughtered a calf, skinned it and distributed its meat. Following this, the party high command suspended eight Youth Congress members, including the unit’s Kannur president. In Chennai, students at IIT-Madras also organised a beef fest on the campus. The next day, a group of students, allegedly led by an ABVP sympathiser, attacked a PhD scholar for attending the fest.