Ravi Shankar Prasad says govt can't control eating habits but need to strike balance as cow is 'revered'

New Delhi: Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said the eating habits of people cannot be controlled, but there is a need to strike a balance since a very large number of people in India revere cows.

File image of Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTI

File image of Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTI

"We should not forget that a very large section of people respects and reveres cows... we can't control the food habits of people. There has to be a balance," Ravi Shankar Prasad told the media in Delhi.

The media interaction was called to highlight the ministry's work since May 2014.

The law minister referred to Article 48 of the Constitution, under the Directive Principles of State Policy, which says: The State shall... take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle."

On 13 June, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Centre will not impose any restrictions on people's choice of food.

His statement came a day after a beef party was held in Aizawl in Mizoram to coincide with his visit to the north-eastern state.

As for a controversial central notification of rules that effectively ban the sale of cattle at cattle markets for slaughter, Prasad said Union Environment and Forest Minister Harsh Vardhan has already said that the Centre is ready for a review of the notification.

He said Prime Minister Modi has "very strongly spoken" on the issue in the past.

Talking about the "achievements" of the law, justice and legislative department under his ministry in the past three years, Ravi Shankar Prasad said these were way ahead of those under the earlier United Progressive Alliance government "in terms of scale, speed and work culture".

Referring to the huge pendency of cases, the law minister said he will write to the chief justices of high courts across the country to expedite disposal of cases — both civil and criminal — pending for 10 years or more.

The minister said he will seek to "ensure physical verification of the pending cases so as to ascertain the real pendency".

He said it had been found that matters in which orders on applications have already been passed were still being counted as pending.

On the finalisation of Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts, the law minister said the "work is in progress; on several issues there were discussions and consensus has been arrived at".

Refusing to identify the issues that still need to be resolved before the MoP is finalised, Prasad said matters between the government and the top judiciary cannot be divulged to the media.

He said non-finalisation of the MoP is in no way "impacting" judicial appointments and referred to the highest 131 appointments of judges made to various High Courts in 2016.

Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017 17:11 PM

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