KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday declined to stay the Union government's order banning the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets. However, the Court directed the union government to file an affidavit in the case. The court observed that the issue needs to be considered urgently given the fact that 90 per cent of the meat traders are dependent on the animal market for the purchase of animals for slaughter. The Kerala HC posted the final hearing of the case to June 28.
The court issued the order on a bunch of petitions filed by Kozhikode District Meat Workers Association and a meat trader from Kochi challenging the constitutional validity of the rule prohibiting selling of cattle for slaughter. The union government submitted that there was no prohibition for slaughtering and it only regulated the selling of cattle for slaughtering from animal market.
The petitioners submitted that the rules will have a far reaching impact on the small scale operators of slaughter houses and abattoirs. Small scale operators are precluded from procuring cattle for slaughter, driving them out of their trade. The classification of purchasers of meat from those who purchase from markets and from farms and of animals into cattle and non-cattle, is also against Article 14 of Constitution of India.
The order is a colourable legislation intended to prevent slaughtering of cattle. The petitioners sought to declare that Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(Regulation of Livestock) Rules 2017 is ultra-vires the Constitution and void as the Centre has no legislative competence to formulate the rules to regulate live stock.
PU Kunju Muhammed, owner of a meat shop in Kaloor market here submitted that his business was already affected to huge extent as the supply of buffalo for the purpose of slaughter has been prohibited under the rules.