MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Tuesday granted a stay on implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of livestock markets) Rules, 2017 for four weeks and also directed the central and state governments to file a counter-affidavit.
In their petitions, S Selvagomathy and B Asik Ilagi Bava, both from Madurai, said the central government rules are against Constitutional federalism, as the constitution has listed the subject of markets as well as veterinary practices as being within the domain of the state.
The rules dictate a complete ban on the sale of cattle for the purpose of slaughter, which is serious intrusion into the right to food which is a fundamental right protected under the Article 21 of the constitution, the petitions said.
Besides the ban on sale for slaughter, there are many restrictions, including a rule that a person who purchases cattle should not sell the animal for up to six months from the date of purchase. The petitions said it was illegal to interfere in property rights of the people and that such blanket bans cannot be imposed in a democratic country. The court should, therefore, declare the new rules as unconstitutional and illegal, said the petitions.
On hearing the petitions, the central government standing counsel told the court that the rules were brought to regulate the livestock market and to ensure that the cattle were not subjected to unnecessary pain or suffering.
A division bench of Justices M V Muralidaran and C V Karthikeyan granted stay on the implementation of the rules for four weeks and also directed the Joint Secretary to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the State Chief Secretary to file a counter.