THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: All Kerala MLAs bar the BJP's lone member, O. Rajagopal, supported a resolution in the Assembly demanding immediate withdrawal of the Central government's new rules regulating the cattle trade.
Accusing the Narendra Modi-led BJP-NDA government and Sangh Parivar groups of pursuing a ‘secret political agenda’, the Treasury and Opposition benches were unanimous the curbs on cattle slaughter will impact the State adversely.
The Assembly termed the May 23 notification as a ploy to enforce the Sangh Parivar's agenda.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, ''The notification is unconstitutional and against the federal principles and existing laws. It aims at facilitating the clandestine political agenda of a ban on cow slaughter.''
He added that his government will decide in due course of time whether Kerala should frame a legislation to protect its interests on the matter.
Rajagopal said the special session was ''politically motivated".
Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan (Cong) said the dynamics of cattle trade in the state and nutritional value of beef cannot be wished away.
“Kerala stands sixth in beef consumption in the country. The notification puts a bar on women’s empowerment as well. Women are engaged in rearing cattle in a big way and the curbs will make the vocation non-viable. The state should consider bringing in a law to circumvent the Central notification,” he said. Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the Central notification on the restrictions on cattle trade was another surgical strike by the Modi Government. “It is certain the curbs will adversely affect the rural economy. It will have a serious political, social and cultural fallout,” he said.
The resolution said the notification conflicted with the objectives of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It was an outright misuse of power to frame rules and usurp the states' rights in the federal system.
The Assembly urged the Narendra Modi government to scrap the new rules as they threaten the livelihoods of lakhs of people and harm the nation's food security.
The resolution said the notification is a clear violation of Article 19 (1) of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom to practice any profession.
The chief minister said in his speech, ''Animal husbandry is a state subject, listed as no. 15 in the State List of the 7th Schedule. The Centre has no right to frame a law on it or pass orders."
Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said the notification had the character of ''indirect interference.'' Referring to the doctrine of "colourable legislation", which prohibits Parliament from making laws on areas beyond its competence, he said the Constitution has always upheld the maxim that you cannot do anything indirectly which you cannot do directly."
Deputy Leader of Opposition M K Muneer (IUML), K M Mani (Kerala Cong-M) and Anoop Jacob (KC-Jacob), who spoke, were also critical of the Centre’s move.