Centre set to repeal and replace controversial cattle sale rules

Following violence, agitations and protests, the Centre is all set to completely withdraw its rules banning sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets.

Published: 15th July 2017 01:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2017 08:45 AM   |  A+A-

Image for Representational Purposes. | EPS

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Following violence, agitations and protests, the Centre is all set to completely withdraw its rules banning sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets. The top echelon of NDA dispensation, according to sources, has admitted the rules ‘are legally suspect’.

The controversial rules, that were notified recently amid clamour and protests, have put the BJP in a spot at a time when it’s making attempts to establish its footprint in States like Kerala, Northeast and Telangana.

An inter-ministerial consultation on the subject came to the conclusion that the rules ‘violate Article 14 by singling out cattle as a species that require particular protection without rational nexus.’

“The rules were legally suspect because sellers had to furnish a declaration that their cattle was not being sold for slaughter — which is ultra vires,” said a top BJP leader involved in the resolution of the controversy.

“In fact, it’s beyond the scope of the parent Act — Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act — which, by the way, doesn’t prohibit slaughter. Besides, the rules also infringe on rights of States.” The government has also accepted the argument that “evidence would be needed to show why only particular animals are useful and therefore not allowed to be slaughtered.”

Within the BJP, the increasing cases of violence by cow vigilantes is being seen as denting the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is ‘seeking to position himself as a world leader’.

And the government, sources added, was aware of the spurt in such attacks after the rules were promulgated.

The saffron party faced the brunt of the notification after several of its leaders in Meghalaya came out openly in protest, while many others privately cautioned the top brass that the ambitious expansion plan in other States of Northeast and South could hit a roadblock. However, the government, sources added, would soon come up with a fresh set of ‘legally sound clauses’ that would address concerns of stakeholders.

Why is the new rule coming in

Party leaders thought rules were legally suspect because sellers had to give declaration that their cattle was not being sold for slaughter.

Rules beyond the scope of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act which doesn’t prohibit slaughter. Besides they also infringe on rights of the States.

The government also accepted the argument that evidence would be needed to show why only particular animals are useful and therefore not allowed to be slaughtered.

The BJP also feels that the violence by cow vigilantes is being seen as denting the image of PM Narendra Modi who is seeking to position himself as a world leader.

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