HYDERABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday has stayed the clause of prohibiting sacrifice of cattle for religious purposes under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017.
With this ruling, during Bakrid, which is observed in the first week of September, cattle can be sacrificed without any legal ramifications.
However, cattle does not include ‘cow’ as its slaughter is illegal in most states including Telangana.
The SC ruling comes after a few animal rights activists and organisations approached the apex court with an intervening petition to recall its earlier order of July 11, extending stay on the 2017 notification ordered by Madurai bench of Madras High Court to the entire country.
The animal rights activists had impleaded in the writ petition filed by Hyderabad-based All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee (AIJQAC) in the SC. AIJQAC had challenged the 2017 notification as unconstitutional, following which the apex court passed its judgment on July 11.
Md Abdul Faheem Qureshi, advocate and president of AIJQAC, said that during hearing of the petition filed by the animal rights activists, he raised the question whether the stay ordered by Madras High Court included rule 22 (e) (iii) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 as well.
The rule 22 (e) (iii) states that the buyer of cattle shall not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose. It was observed that the judgment of Madras High Court was not explicit regarding prohibition of this rule.
Qureshi said that the SC clarified that the stay is applicable on rule 22 (e) (iii) as well.
The court also raised a point that when the parent Act, The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 allows animal sacrifice for religious purpose, then how can the 2017 notification prohibit it, Qureshi said.
Section 28 of the 1960 Act states “Nothing contained in this Act shall render it an offence to kill any animal in a manner required by the religion of any community.”
It may be recalled that in 2015 as well the SC had rejected a plea seeking ban on animal sacrifice as part of religion.