Kerala to call meeting of CMs, Assembly session against Centre's restriction on cattle trade

The Kerala government today decided to convene a meeting of all chief ministers to discuss the Centre's ban on sale of cattle at animal markets for slaughter.

Published: 31st May 2017 03:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st June 2017 05:44 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. | PTI File Photo

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Determined to take on the Narendra Modi Government for imposing restrictions on the sale of cattle, the Kerala Government on Wednesday decided to convene a meeting of all Chief Ministers in the country.

The state Cabinet also decided to legally challenge the notification. A special session of the Kerala Assembly will be convened soon to finalise the course of action. Terming the restrictions on sale of cattle as ‘anti-federal and anti-constitutional’, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the Union Government has no right to frame rules as the issue was a state subject.

“The state will convene a meeting of all the Chief Ministers at the earliest, to discuss the issue,” Vijayan said. He alleged the BJP government at the Centre was infringing upon the rights of the states in the guise of framing rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Curiously, the rules framed under the Act contradicts the Central act itself.

The government will hold a special session of the assembly after consulting the Opposition Leader. “Whether the Centre has the right to frame such rules should be verified. The Centre is imposing the restrictions in violation of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. It should be questioned legally,” Pinarayi said.

A final decision on approaching the Supreme Court or the High Court will be taken after consulting legal experts, he said.  Pinarayi alleged the new rules were framed with an intention to ban cattle slaughter. “As per the Prevention of Cruelties to Animals Act 1960, the Centre has no right to frame rules to restrict functioning of cattle markets. The conditions for framing rules have been violated,” he said.
The issue of cattle slaughter does not come under the legislative powers of the Parliament. Though certain states have banned cow slaughter, it’s legal in many other states, the Chief Minister said.

The Centre is violating the fundamental rights to work and engage in trading. Slaughtering of animals for food has been permitted under the act, he said. The new restrictions will have an adverse impact on Kerala’s labour and trade sectors. “As many as 15 lakh cattle are brought to the state every year. A total of 2,52,000 tonnes of beef worth Rs 6,552 crore is sold in the state per annum,” said Pinarayi.

Constitutional validity of Centre’s order questioned

Kochi: A Single Judge of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday reserved order on the petitions filed by the Kozhikode District Meat Workers’ Association and a city-based meat trader  challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre’s notification prohibiting the sale of cattle for slaughter. Counsel for the Union Government submitted  there was no prohibition on slaughtering and it regulated the sale of cattle for slaughtering in the market. The petitioners submitted the Rules will have a far reaching impact on small scale operators of slaughter houses and abattoirs. Small scale operators are precluded from procuring cattle for slaughter, thereby forcing them out of the business. The classification of purchasers of meat is  against Article 14 of the Constitution, they contended.

State to approach apex court

Animal Husbandry Minister K Raju said the state will approach the Supreme Court against the ban on cattle sale. Whether the state should frame a law to bypass the notification will be decided after consulting legal experts and the special Assembly Session, he told a press conference here. Speaking to Express, he said the government will implead in the case before the Kerala High Court in this regard.

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