OBSERVING THAT there was no constitutional violation in the Centre’s notification banning sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter at animal markets, a division bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed as withdrawn a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the order. The division bench of Chief Justice Navniti Prasad Singh and Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan also expressed surprise at the order of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, which had, on Tuesday, granted a four-week stay on the Centre’s notification.
The division bench felt that its interference in the notification was unwarranted.
The bench observed that there is no ban on beef consumption or cow slaughter. The new notification does not impose any restrictions on the sale of beef or slaughter of cattle, it said, adding that the restrictions were on the sale of cattle used for agriculture purpose at animal markets. The rules did prevent anyone from buying or selling cattle outside the market, it said.
The PIL was filed by Youth Congress state general secretary T G Sunil, who sought a stay on the notification on the ground that it was issued during Ramzan, and would hurt religious harmony in Kerala. He argued that the notification violated fundamental rights.
Following the high court’s interpretation of the notification, the petitioner withdrew the PIL.
Meanwhile, a single-judge bench of the high court reserved its order on two writ petitions challenging the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market), Rules, 2017. The writ petitions, filed by Kozhikode district meat workers association and Congress legislator Hybi Eden, sought a stay on the Centre’s notification.
The petitioners argued that the rules infringe upon Articles 14, 19 & 21 of the Constitution, and also amount to encroaching on the powers of the state legislatures.