The Centre’s notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter violates fundamental rights of states and individuals, including the right to practice religion, a major Left farmers’ body has said. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), which is backed by the CPI(M), has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court against the constitutional validity of the notification. The AIKS has contended that the notification allegedly violates several fundamental rights of individuals and states, including right to practice religion and free movement of goods. The notification would also hamper the economic interests and livelihood of farmers, dairy farmers, cattle traders and businessmen, the farmers’ body has argued. Referring to the recent spate of attacks on Dalits and minorities allegedly by cow protection vigilante outfits, the AIKS has said that the notification “strengthens” the hands of those who are leading such assaults.
“The Centre has violated so many rights while coming out with this notification. The rights to trade, freedom of movement etc. All rights are being violated. “Article 25, which deals with right to practice religion, is also a fundamental right. Animals are sacrificed for religious purposes. So, mainly fundamental rights are under attack,” AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah told reporters here. Mollah said the Centre has also violated the rights of states as well, given the fact that cattle and all related issues (cattle property and their maintenance) are state subjects under the Constitution.
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Only the states can make laws on state subjects and not the Centre, he said. “We have also submitted that this decision will impact the economic livelihood and farmers’ earnings. We urge the Supreme Court to consider all these legal and constitutional aspects along with the economic damage the move will cause,” he added. AIKS leader Vijoo Krishnan, who accompanied Mollah along with AIKS joint secretary NK Shukla at the briefing, said the notification has “strengthened” the hands of vigilante groups which were targetting Dalits and minority community members who are into cattle trade or related business.
“We have urged the apex court to intervene so that there is a conducive situation in which dairy farmers, cattle traders can continue with their profession following all the laws. The SC should also see that such outfits (vigilantes) too are forced to follow the laws,” Krishnan said. The Centre had on May 23 issued the notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, a move that is expected to hit export and trade of meat and leather. The environment ministry had notified the stringent ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017’ under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.