NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with the Madras High Court's stay order on provisions of the Centre's May 23 notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from markets for slaughter.
The apex court, however, modified its earlier order and vacated its stay on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Case Property Animals Rules 2017).
This paves way for implementation of Livestock Market Rules except Rule 22 which was stayed by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court.
The Case Property Animals Rules 2017 notified by the Centre on May 23, could also be implemented with apex court vacating its stay.
"We are disposing of the petition before us. The stay order of Madras High Court on Rules (22) b (iii) and 22 (e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Livestocks Markets) Rule 2017, will remain as it is. We are not touching that," a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said.
The apex court, however, granted liberty to aggrieved parties to approach the court, when the new rules are notified by the government saying that only then, the fresh cause of action will arise.
The court said that it is satisfied and there is no objection to other provisions of Livestock Market Rules and Case Property Animals Rules 2017, and therefore the stay is vacated.
It said that only rule 22 of Livestock Market Rules which deals with sale and purchase of cattle from markets for slaughter which has been stayed by high court will remain as it is.
Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha said that the government is looking into the objections from various stakeholders and rules are under scrutiny after which it will be tabled in Parliament.
He said that every aspect of the rules was to protect the animal from cruelty as there were cases in which cattle was exported for slaughter.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for one of the petitioners, said that they are challenging rules as the parent Act (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) does not have provision of prohibition.
On July 11, the court extended to the entire country the Madras High Court order staying the May 23 notification of the Centre banning sale and purchase of cattle from markets for slaughter.
The order had came after the central government asserted that it was not seeking lifting of the stay on notification by the high court and was, rather, looking at it afresh by considering objections and suggestions.
The Centre had told the court that it would come up with the amended notification.
The apex court had said the amended rules, to be notified later, would be also open to challenge before it.
The central rules, in any case, will not be effective unless the state governments earmark local markets as stipulated where cattle sale takes place, and the process would take at least three months.
The Centre had on May 23 issued the notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.