The Allahabad High Court today said it is an obligation of the Uttar Pradesh government to establish and run modernised slaughter houses in the state and directed authorities to issue new licenses as per rules. Considering that licenses for meat shops and slaughter houses can be granted under the Food Safety Act 2006, the Lucknow bench of the high court in its interim order asked the applicants of licences to apply accordingly.
In case the local authorities find any difficulty in doing so, they can approach the state government for proper guidance, it said. The court also directed a High Powered Committee to consider the aspects set forth in the verdict and formulate the policy in the matter of slaughtering and licensing to meat shops. A bench of justices A P Sahi and Sanjai Harkauli passed the directives on a bunch of writ petitions filed individually.
The petitioners had demanded that their meat shop licences which had expired on March 31 be renewed. They had pleaded that the state in fact wanted to close slaughter houses and therefore it issued an order on March 22. The petitioners submitted that the state act has forced the closure of meat business which is constitutional right.
The act of the state indirectly put unreasonable restriction on taste of food of a citizen which cannot be permitted. Citing an apex court guideline, it was also pointed out that in compliance whereof the central and state governments had released funds for establishment of modern abattoirs but the present government was lagging behind the steps.
Opposing the pleas, advocate general Raghvendra Singh and state’s special counsel L P Mishra had strongly submitted that it was not obligation of the state government to establish the slaughter houses. It was argued that the Food Safety Act 2006 had overruled other provisions under which licenses for slaughtering and renewal of meat shops were granted. The state counsel pleaded that if the aspirants of licences applied as per norms, the same can be issued after scrutiny.
The bench had heard the matter for many days and finally issued its interim verdict. Considering the provisions of different local acts and government order issued during last government, the bench said that establishing and running slaughter houses were responsibility of the state.
It relied on government orders places before it in which it was evident that the state had earlier issued fund for the purpose.
“The disbursement of funds under the said head has been categorically described in relation to several projects with substantial amount of funding by the central government. It is thus clear that not only the central government but the state government as well in the past has undertaken these steps in order to ensure the running of modernised slaughterhouses either by improving upon the existing slaughterhouses or setting up of new modern slaughterhouses” held the bench .
The court also asked the state to require the private players in the field.
“All the citizens have the right to an adequate means of livelihood to subserve common good which in the instant case would also include the choice of food of its citizens and all other such obligations that can be gathered from the constitutional provisions,” observed the bench, directing the High Powered Committee to formulate policy on the whole issue by next date fixing July 17 for further hearing in the matter.