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Dog Meat Ban: Gauhati High Court Puts Nagaland Government's Order On Hold

Sparsh Upadhyay
28 Nov 2020 11:28 AM GMT
Dog Meat Ban: Gauhati High Court Puts Nagaland Governments Order On Hold
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The Gauhati High Court (Kohima Bench) stayed the Nagaland Government’s decision to ban the commercial sale of dog meat.

The Gauhati High Court (Kohima Bench) on Wednesday (25th November) stayed the Nagaland Government's decision dated 04.07.2020 to ban the commercial import and trade of dog meat and commercial sale of dog meat in markets and dining in restaurants.The Bench of Justice S. Hukato Swu issued the interim stay after the State Government failed to file a reply.It may be noted that the Court had, on...

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The Gauhati High Court (Kohima Bench) on Wednesday (25th November) stayed the Nagaland Government's decision dated 04.07.2020 to ban the commercial import and trade of dog meat and commercial sale of dog meat in markets and dining in restaurants.

The Bench of Justice S. Hukato Swu issued the interim stay after the State Government failed to file a reply.

It may be noted that the Court had, on the previous date, i.e. on 14.09.2020, given the opportunity to the respondents to file affidavit-in-opposition with the direction that interim would be considered thereafter, however, the State failed to file its response

The Prayers of the Petitioner

The petitioners before the Court are traders dealing in importing and sale of dog meat within the jurisdiction of Kohima Municipal under the license issued by the respondent No. 3.

It was stated by them that with the issuance of the impugned notification dated 04.07.2020 (to ban the commercial import and trade of dog meat and commercial sale of dog meat in markets and dining in restaurants), their business and livelihood has been adversely affected added to the pandemic situation prevailing in the State

The counsel for the petitioners submitted before the Court that they moved the Court because the concerned authority, Chief Secretary, who had issued the impugned notification dated 04.07.2020 was not statutorily empowered to pass such orders.

It was further submitted that the Food Safety Standards Act, 2006 confers this authority on the Commissioner of Food Safety under Section 30 of the Act.

Therefore, it was argued that "the notification dated 04.07.2020, issued by the Chief Secretary banning the commercial import and trade of dog meat and commercial sale of dog meat in markets and dining in restaurants is illegal."

It was contended that there are procedural steps which have to be followed prior to the issuance of banning the sale of meat under the Food Safety Standards Act which are provided under Sections 34, 36 and 38.

It was stated that the procedure requires that on observation if any food which is intended for sale appears to be not in conformity with standard rules would be subject to analysis scientifically and thereafter come to a finding that the particular food is either fit or unfit for consumption.

Furthermore, notice is to be given to the party to be affected by orders under Food Safety Standards Act prior to issuance of the prohibition of the sale of any article of food which is in contravention of the provisions of the Act.

It was also argued that "All these procedural steps as mandated under the Act has been violated, therefore, there is a violation of the procedural law and that executive order passed under Article 162 cannot stand the test of law if it violates Articles 14, 19 and 21."

Lastly, it was stated that "if an executive exercise is made violating the fundamental rights of the citizens, the executive Court orders cannot stand the test of law. Orders to be implemented must have statutory backing."

Court's Order

The Court considered the submissions made by the counsel for the petitioners and also, the submission made by the Government Advocate.

Under the facts and circumstances placed before the Court, the Court was of the view that the impugned order dated 04.07.2020 "may be stayed until the next returnable date and accordingly order so."

In the meantime, the State respondents have been directed to make all efforts to file their affidavit-in-reply. The matter will now be listed after the winter vacation.

Case title- Neizevolie Kuotsu Alias Toni Kuotsu And 2 Ors v. The State Of Nagaland and 2 Ors [Case No. : WP(C) 128/2020]

Picture Courtesy - India Today

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