Cattle trade row: SC asks Centre to respond to plea against cow slaughter rules
The government’s May 25 order bans sale of cattle, including cows, for slaughter and restricts cattle trade to farm owners.india Updated: Jul 05, 2017 13:15 IST
The Supreme Court asked the central government on Thursday to respond to a petition challenging a notification banning the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, a move that triggered protests across India.
The top court gave the Centre two weeks to respond and posted the case for hearing next on July 11.
A Hyderabad-based lawyer, Fahim Qureshi, had challenged the order, saying it was discriminatory and unconstitutional as it prevented cattle traders from earning their livelihood.
The Narendra Modi government’s May 25 order bans sale of cattle, including cows, for slaughter and restricts cattle trade to farm owners. Meat industry exports in 2016-17 were worth Rs 26,303 crore.
Rivals have accused the government of pushing a beef ban through the back door in keeping with the BJP’s Hindutva agenda. Some within the BJP are also unhappy with the rules. A few BJP members in Meghalaya resigned in protest.
Several states have said they wouldn’t implement the order, as the Centre can’t dictate food habits. Beef festivals were held in several states to register protest. People in Aizawl participated in a ‘beef ban bashing banquet’, while the Kerala assembly served a beef breakfast to legislators during a special session.
Union minister Harsh Vardhan sought to clarify the cattle slaughter rules, saying the issue has been blown out of proportion and misunderstood. “The aim of the rules is to prevent cruelty to animals. It has nothing to do with slaughter business, it has nothing to do with changing your food habits,” he said.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh also said the Centre will not impose any restrictions on people’s choice of food.
(with agency inputs)