New Rules Don’t Amount To A Beef Ban, Says Kerala High Court

New Rules Don’t Amount To A Beef Ban, Says Kerala High CourtCows are seen at the Shree Gopala Goshala cow shelter in Bhiwandi, India. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Just a day after the Madras High Court stayed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, which regulates animal markets, the Kerala High Court came out in support of the regulations proposed by the central government.

Considering a Public Interest Litigation filed by Youth Congress state secretary, T G Sunil, a bench headed by Chief Justice of Kerala Justice Navniti Prasad Singh opined that there was no “beef ban”. The bench made critical remarks of the various beef fests and protests that took place in the state. The protesters alleged that the regulations amounted to a beef ban and prohibition of cattle slaughter.

“Where has fundamental rights been violated? How has the right to occupation [livelihood] been violated?” the bench questioned the petitioner. The bench, in fact, observed that the protesters seemed not to have even read the regulations.

The bench pointed out that the regulations prohibit the sale of cattle through animal markets for slaughter and not slaughter itself. There is absolutely no prohibition on slaughter of cattle or the sale of cattle for other purposes, said the court.

The court questioned the motivations of the protesters, enquiring whether they understood the nuances of the regulations. The Chief Justice said he was surprised by the decision of the Madras High Court to stay the regulation.

The petition was withdrawn by the petitioner after the scathing comments made by the High Court. This may be an early setback to the Kerala government, which has already come out publicly against cattle slaughter, with the Ruling front denouncing the order as “fascism”.

The state was witness to a variety of “Beef Fests”, conducted by both the Communist parties and the Congress. In one incident in Kannur, Youth Congress workers slaughtered a young calf publicly, causing a national controversy.

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