Supreme Court of India has agreed to hear a petition challenging the Constitutional validity of new Cattle Rules ( Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017 ) on June 15.
The Petition is filed by Mohammed Abdul Faheem Qureshi, a lawyer and the President of All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee, a non-governmental organization working for the upliftment of weaker sections of the society including the butchers and cattle traders of the country.
The Petitioner’s lawyer Sanobar Ali Qureshi, mentioned the matter on Wednesday, before the vacation Bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Dipak Gupta and the bench agreed to hear the matter.
According to the Petitioner, Rule 22(a) (b)(iii) (c) (d)(ii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (e) (i) (iii) and Rule 25(5) of notification issued vide G.S.R. 494(E) dated, the 23rd May, 2017 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2016 and Rule 3 (b), 5 (1) to (8), 7, 8 (1) (2) and 9 of notification issued vide G.S.R. 495(E) dated, the 23rd May, 2017 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2016 are arbitrary, illegal, unconstitutional and violative of Article 19 (1) (g), 21, 25, 29 of the Constitution of India and Section 29 and 35 of the parental Act i.e. the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (59 of 1960).
Violation Of Articles 19, 21 and 25
According to the Petition, the complete ban of sale or purchase or resale of animals, would cast a huge economic burden on the farmers, cattle traders who find it difficult to feed their children today but would be required to feed the cattle as it is an offence under the Act of 1960 to starve an animal or failure to maintain it and would also give way for Cow Vigilantes to harass farmers and cattle traders under the blessing of the impugned regulations. Therefore, the impugned provisions are in violation of the right to livelihood under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and in violation of the right to carry on trade or business and amount to an infringement of the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 19 (g) of the Constitution of India.
“The right to choice of food (Non Vegetarian or Vegetarian) is a part of the right to personal liberty, conscience and privacy. By imposing a ban on slaughter of animals for food, the citizens with a choice to eat the flesh of such animals would be deprived of such food, which violates the right to food, privacy and personal liberty, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The impugned provisions which prohibit the sale or purchase of animals defined as cattle under the Rules for religious purposes, offends the right to freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India”.
The Petition also states that Section 28 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, permits to sacrifice the animal for religious purpose but the impugned rules put a ban and frustrate the substantive law of parent act and violate Article 29 of Indian Constitution.
Centre Has No Power
“The respondent framed the impugned rules pursuant to the delegated power u/s 38 proviso 1 and 2 of PCA Act, 1960 but nature of rules falling purely within the domain of the State legislature and thus the exercise of Rules making power, directly usurping the legislative powers of the States by the Union, the respondent had breached the cardinal principle of federalism, which is a basic structure of our constitution. Therefore, the impugned rules, which emasculate the State legislature of their domain of legislation, particularly when the Parliamentary enactment on the subject does not empower such Rule making, is a direct attack on federal structure of our Constitution”.
Read the Petition here.