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SC pulls up Govt on rules preventing trade in cattle for slaughter
The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Centre for notifying the Rules preventing cattle to be traded at livestock markets for slaughter purposes even without tabling it in Parliament, considered mandatory under parliamentary Rules of Business and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
This after the Court was informed by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narasimha that on May 23, 2017 when the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules 2017 were notified, it was not tabled before the Parliament.
Although Narasimha said that the Centre was not implementing the Rules as the same is being reconsidered by the Government following which new Rules will be put in place, the bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud said, “You cannot take cover by saying I will not implement the Rules….These Rules were not placed before Parliament, how can they come into force.”Narasimha explained that when the Parliament met on July 17, by then Madras High Court had stayed crucial provisions of the Rules prohibiting sale of cattle for slaughter. On July 11, the apex court extended the order to the entire country.
The Court noted further discrepancies in the Rules as provisions within it contained a ban on sacrificing animals (without specifying cattle) for religious purpose, something that is exempted by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. “When something is not an offence under the Act, how do you introduce it through the Rules,” the bench asked ASG. It further questioned another provision which sought an undertaking that the cattle sold will not be slaughtered.
The bench felt that in the name of preventing cruelty to animals, the Centre was taking over the rights of state to regulate livestock and markets, both being State subjects under Constitution. The Court stayed the above two provisions and amended its earlier order staying another set of Rules relating to Case Property Animals.
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