Ban on cattle sale: Opposition calls Centre's move an 'attempt to encroach upon powers of states'

Bengaluru: The Centre's ban on sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter was "anti-Constitution" and an "attempt to encroach upon the powers of the states", Karnataka Law Minister TB Jayachandra said on Tuesday.

He said he briefed the cabinet on Tuesday about the rules notified by the Centre and added that the state would arrive at a stand on the issue at the next cabinet meeting.

"The rules framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act overlap the provisions of the state act and also contradict the central act. So, in my opinion, they will not stand the test of law," Jayachandra told reporters in Bengaluru after the cabinet meeting.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

He said the rules could be questioned by "anyone" in the court of law.

The state already has the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964 in place to deal with such issues.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said his government was analysing the developments following the Centre's ban on sale of cattle, calling it a "state subject".

The Environment Ministry had last week notified the stringent Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of  Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, banning the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for the purpose of slaughter.

The decision has drawn flak from the opposition parties as well as various organisations who claim that it would hit the export and trade of meat and leather.

Jayachandra said, "As we check the constitutional validity of the rules, I feel they are not in accordance with the law and that they have been brought in a hurry."

Alleging that there was also an attempt to encroach upon the powers specified in the state list, he said, "As it is, overlapping the powers in the state list is anti-Constitution."

The Centre's rules define cattle as a bovine animal, including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves and camels.

They also prohibit the establishment of an animal market within 25 km of a state border and within 50 km of the international border.

Asked if the state government would take the matter to the court, Jayachandra said, "As the Law Minister, I have briefed the cabinet on certain points. The issue will be taken up at the next cabinet meeting, following which we will make our stand known."

To a question on a Central act prevailing over a state act on the same subject, he said, "They (Centre) should have amended the act, not the rules. The rules will not sustain."

"We have examined whether they can be followed or not. I will re-examine them and brief the cabinet at the next meeting and decide what to do," he added.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has termed the move as "anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular" and shot off letters to his counterparts in other states, asking them to "stand together" and "oppose" the ban.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has described the Centre's notification as a "deliberate attempt to encroach upon the states' powers" and said her government would not accept it.

Updated Date: May 31, 2017 07:37 AM

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