Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday rejected criticism that the Centre was infringing upon states’ rights on the cattle issue, saying the order has nothing do with slaughter of cattle which is governed by respective state laws. “It (Central notification) has nothing to do with legislation or no legislation…. Is this farmers’ market meant for those involved in slaughter trade or not — this is the only effect of the notification. And whether you can slaughter or not, that is the state legislation which applies,” Jaitley told a media conference here.
He was replying to a question on three Chief Ministers, including from Kerala and West Bengal, writing to the Centre opposing the order issued by the Union Environment Ministry regulating cattle trade in which animals cannot be sold for slaughter.
Jaitley said there is a provision in the Constitution, Article 48 on Directive Principles, which says that certain category of animals have to be protected. “You have, during the 1950s, during Nehru’s era, state after state framing a legislation. Now there are two categories of states – ones which have prohibited slaughter, others which have not. Those laws are continuing.
“This clarification which has come has nothing to do with those state legislations,” he added. Ever since the Environment Ministry came out with the notification on May 23, banning the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter at animal markets across India, states ruled by opposition parties and political opponents of the BJP have come out strongly against it, terming it an attempt to impose food habits on people and strike at the roots of federalism by taking away states’ powers.