Updated: December 29, 2018 4:53:52 am
The Gujarat High Court on Friday issued a notice to the state government with regard to petitions moved by a group of businessmen against the decisions of the government affecting the trade of livestock within the state and export from Tuna port.
The businessmen have said that the state government through various notifications and official communications is trying to stop the exports, which they have been doing since the last several years from Tuna port in Anjar, Kutch district.
A division bench of Justice Harsha Devani and Justice A P Thaker sought the government’s response by January 17.
The petitions have been moved by Prashant Shukla, director of Prisha Overseas Enterprise, Salman Chauhan, proprietor of Sara impex, Ezzazuddin Huseni, proprietor of E B Huseni and Kaymuddin Saiyed, signatory proprietor of Almond International. They have jointly challenged the Vijay Rupani-led state government’s recent decisions in the form of notifications, communications and his announcements that “state government will not let this business of export of live stock happen from the soil of Gujarat.”
The business of petitioners have already suffered following similar obstacles created by the government throughout this year by not allowing export of sheep and goats to middle east countries. After rounds of litigations in the High Court, some consignments were allowed to be exported. However, the petitioners have said that to their “shock” they came to know about the new notifications and several communication creating further problems in their trade.
The notification dated December 14 issued by the government, under sections of Gujarat Essential Commodities and Cattle (Control) Act, 2005, prohibited the movement of cattle into drought-affected areas from outside. The petitioners have said that since Tuna port falls in Anjar district, which has been declared as drought-hit, this notification has made it impossible for them to export live stock.
The petitioners have also challenged the legality of a communication pertaining to setting up of check posts to keep round-the-clock vigil on any export of livestock. The petition has annexure of a letter of the Home department addressed to Superintendent of Police (Kutch West) Parikshita Rathod, asking her to install check posts at required places and deploy police, officials from Animal Husbandry and representatives of Jeev Daya (animal rights activists) in order to see animals are not being harassed during transportation.
Another communication issued by the chief minister to Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry urges “not to permit export of livestock through Tuna Port till quarantine facility is made available in Gujarat.” The petitioners have said that quarantine facilities are required by importing country and not exporting countries.
“In the instant case, the importing country UAE does not mandate any quarantine certificate at the export point, but the examination quarantine of the livestock is carried out at the destination country UAE by its own authority as per its own law at import point,” the petitioners have stated.
They have said that the authorities are “coercing the Customs Department into preventing export of livestock on extraneous and illegal grounds and for the documents which are neither necessary nor legally mandatory.”
They have argued that the notification regarding movement of cattle in drought-affected areas doesn’t concern them as “sheep and goats are raised to be sold, more particularly during the time of agrarian crisis and at the time when there is scarcity of food, fodder and water.”
The petitioners have requested the court to set aside these decisions which are “in gross violation of the statutory provisions of law and also violative of the fundamental rights of the petitioners and other exporters, transporters and persons/farmers involved in the business of Animal Husbandry.”
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