The Supreme Court of on Tuesday extended the Madras High Court’s stay order on the Centre’s May 23 notification, banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, to the rest of the country. The order came after the central government said it was seriously considering the various representations made to it on the issue, and would make amendments to the rules if needed.
“The stay is extended to the whole of the country,” said Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, after the counsel for petitioners pleaded that this was necessary to avoid confusion regarding the applicability of the stay ordered by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court. The Centre did not ask for any modification of the HC order, or for the stay to be lifted. The court said that in view of the Centre’s stand, there was no reason to retain the petitions.
“It is pointed out by the Centre that the issues under challenge are subject matter of fresh consideration and concerned authorities are seized of it. It is submitted that the rules will be renotified after appropriate changes,” said the court.
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The court also took note of the Centre’s submission that “the concerned authority, Secretary, MoEF, is seized of the matter and after consideration, changes as needed shall be renotified”.
Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha said the notification was issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), after inviting objections of the various states. However, given the sensitivities involved, the government was willing to take a relook at certain provisions and would make amendments if necessary.
He also told the court that the MoEF notification would not take effect immediately, as it was the job of the states to identify and notify the markets envisaged by the central notification. He said it would take at least three months to put in place the regulatory regime as envisaged by the central notification.
The court was taking up a bunch of petitions challenging the amendments to the rules framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.