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Bombay HC Notice To Centre, Goa Govt On Cattle Trade Rules

Litigations continue to pile on across the country as far as the Centre’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, is concerned.

While hearing a PIL filed by Quraishi’s Meat Traders Association challenging the new rules notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court has issued notice to the Centre and state government of Goa, returnable in two weeks, seeking a reply on the contentions raised.

The petitioners, Quraishi Meat Traders Association of Goa (QMTA) and another meat trader, contended that the new rules infringe upon their rights under Article 19(1)(g) (to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business) and Article 25 (freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion).

The Ministry of Environment and Forests notified new rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, banning the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter at animal markets across India.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, allows only farmland owners to trade at these cattle markets.

The Centre has also notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017.

The notification covers bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves, as well as the camel trade.

It also requires anyone purchasing cattle to provide an undertaking that the animals are being bought for agricultural purposes and not slaughter.

The petitioners stated that Goa’s traders procure their cattle from the open markets at Belgaum, Karnataka, and the new rules would adversely affect their trade.

Similar petitions have been filed before the high courts of Kerala and Madras. While the Kerala High Court refused to stay the new rules, the Madurai bench of Madras High Court granted a four-week stay on these rules.

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