LUCKNOW: As the meat crisis intensifies in UP with over 100 slaughterhouses and thousands of meat shops sealed by the authorities, Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court on Monday sought an explanation from Uttar Pradesh Government and the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) over the provision under which meat shops in the State capital were being forced to shut down.
Granting three days’ time to the state government and LMC to file their response, the court also took the Lucknow civic authorities to task over their lackadaisical approach to the whole issue. Why did the civic authorities concerned not take any initiative in time to renew the licences of meat shops, asked the court. The next hearing in the case will be on April 3.
Hearing a fresh application filed on Monday in a case which had been pending in HC since 2015, a bench of Justice AP Sahi and Justice Sanjai Harkauli passed the above order. The petitioners -Shahbuddin and nine other meat traders-had pleaded in the court that they had the licence to run the shops.
As their licences expired two years ago, they applied for renewal but the LMC seemed reluctant under the National Green Tribunal (NGT) guidelines, which say that the slaughterhouses should be run by the municipal authorities.
“Since the LMC had no slaughterhouse in the city so they said that licences could not be renewed,” the petitioners said.
The petitioners’ counsel GC Sinha in his submission said that if LMC did not have any slaughterhouse, it was not the fault of innocent traders who were doing business legally. The petitioners also charged the MC officials with taking money in lieu of permission to run the shops even after the expiry of licences.
The petition in this regard had been pending in the HC since 2015 wherein the court had directed the then dispensation and LMC to file the reply but court order had not been complied with till date.
However, the petitioners filed a fresh application in the pending case on Monday alleging that on the one hand the LMC failed to grant or even renew licences, on the other they started the crackdown on shopkeepers forcing closure of their shops without any prior notice or information.
The court expressed concern over the fact that neither the state government nor LMC filed a reply in the matter even after two years. It also made a point about the forced closure of shops without any order of the competent authorities.