The new Rules, notified under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, ban the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter at animal markets across India, and allow only farmland owners to trade at animal markets. The notification covers bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves, as well as the camel trade. They also require anyone purchasing cattle to provide an undertaking that the animals are bought for agricultural purposes and not slaughter.
The Petition, filed by MLA Hibi Eden and meat shop owner P.U. Kunju Muhammed, contends that the Rules violate Articles 14, 19 & 21 of the Constitution of India, and that they amount to a colorable exercise of the power, encroaching upon legislative domain of the State Legislatures.
“The petitioner’s business has already affected to a huge extent since the supply of buffalos for the purpose of slaughter is prohibited under the impugned Rules. The petitioner will have to close down his business, if the said impugned order is permitted to stay in the statute book,” it contends.
It further submits that the Rules are ultra vires the parent Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, as Section 11 (3) (e) of the Act exempts destruction of an animal as food for mankind, unless such destruction is accompanied by infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering. It therefore contends that the Rules are “ultra vires the Act, a mala fide exercise of power and wholly untenable in law and thus liable to be quashed. The impugned Rules have no nexus whatsoever with the objects sought to be achieved by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, the plenary legislation to which it owes its existence. It is clearly unsustainable in law. It is trite law that the power of the executive to frame rules under any enactment and act there under is restricted strictly by the object sought to be achieved by such an enactment and will not extend to matters not provided for or contemplated by the statute.”
Another Petition has been filed by Youth Congress General Secretary T.G. Saji, with the State having made its stand clear that the Rules infringe upon the State’s legislative mandate, submitting that preservation, protection, and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases as well as veterinary training and practice is a matter included in the State List in the Constitution of India. The Centre has however submitted that the Directive Principles of State Policy under Article 48 of the Indian Constitution allow prohibition of slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle.
Read the Petition here.