The Hindu – Supreme Court to hear plea against slaughter ban rules

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi, 14 July 2017. The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a plea seeking modification of its July 11 order, which recorded the Centre’s submission that the Madras High Court staying the cattle slaughter ban rules extends all over the country.

The Centre on July 11 submitted that it was ready to keep in abeyance both the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Act, 2017 owing to public furore.

It had said that Ministry of Environment was re-visiting both rules and would issue a fresh notification by August.

The Centre, on July 11, also informed a Bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar that the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had already stayed “the rules” in May last.

The court had duly recorded the Centre’s submission that the High Court stay extended throughout the country.

In her modification plea, activist Gauri Maulekhi made an urgent mention before the Chief Justice’s Bench that the Madras High Court had not stayed the two rules in their entirety but only suspended the implementation of Rule 22 (b) (iii) of the Livestock Rules of 2017.

Hence, the senior lawyers have sought a clarification on the ambit of the Supreme Court’s order of July 11.

This particular rule mandates that a person who brings cattle to an animal market should furnish a written undertaking from the owner or his duly authorised agent that the cattle is not meant to be sold for purposes of slaughter.

Besides, Ms Maulekhi has also sought how a rule notified by the government as law can be stayed by the court on the government’s own word. Once notified, the government has a duty to implement the law unless the court, after hearing arguments, passes a reasoned judicial order staying the operation of the law.

Again, Ms Maulekhi points out that the Madurai Bench’s limited stay order had lapsed on July 7. This means that there was no such stay as on July 11. This was neither mentioned in the court nor does it find a place in the July 11 order.

The Supreme Court’s July 11 order was based on a petition filed by Mohammed Abdul Faheem Qureshi, a Hyderabad-based lawyer and the President of All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee, contending that the enforcement of the rules would cast a “huge economic burden on farmers” and cattle traders, exposing them to harassment by cow vigilantes and the police.


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