The Supreme Court on Monday will hear a plea challenging the Centre’s notification prohibiting sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter on the grounds that it violates the right to free trade. Earlier on July 11, the apex court, while hearing a matter on a cow slaughter ban, said that the Madras High Court’s stay on the government’s notification banning the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets is operational. The Centre told the Supreme Court that owing to public objections, it is re-considering certain aspect” of its recent rules banning sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter from animal markets.
The Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Narasimha, told the apex court that the Centre was studying the market trends in the regard and may come up with the modifications likely by end of August. Earlier, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had stayed the Centre’s notification on cattle slaughter ban while the Kerala High Court refused to order a stay on it. On May 25, the Centre through an order imposed a ban on the sale of cattle, including cows, for slaughter and restricted cattle trade solely to farm owners.
Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan had ordered that the ministry has notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 to ensure that the sale of cattle is not meant for slaughter purposes. Regulating animal trade is a state business, but animal welfare is a central subject, thereby providing the window for the ministry to notify the rule. In lieu of this, there was widespread opposition of the order, with many states openly denying accepting the notification.