While the Supreme Court sought clarification on the Centre’s notification banning cattle sale for slaughter asking if the notification was placed before the Parliament, an RTI reply revealed that Narendra Modi government did not follow the required procedure. Replying to an RTI query by one of the petitioners, who has challenged the ban in SC, the Lok Sabha Secretariat stated that the rules were never laid before the Parliament, which the government should have done before implementing them, The Hindu reported.
Narendra Modi-led BJP government, in May, had banned the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter. The decision received huge criticism from multiple corners, including from states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party. However, the apex court put a nation-wide stay on the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules of 2017, which bans the sale of cattle in livestock markets for the purpose of slaughter.
The petitioner Sabu Stephen, through advocate V.K. Biju, had pointed out on 4 August that according to Section 38A of the Prevention of Cruelty Act of 1960, any rules under it should be placed before Parliament “as soon as it is made”, The Hindu reported. The Act requires that the rules should be presented to the Parliament for a total of 30, and any changes proposed should be incorporated.
The RTI reply dated 27 July said, the cattle trade rules had not been sent to the Parliament. It said, they were “not forwarded by the Ministry concerned, i.e., the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, for laying on the table of the House so far. Hence, not laid till date”.
The government bypassed the Parliament, suppressed the rules from the elected representatives of the people of the country and killed the parent Act... all this when over 70 percent of the country is affected by certain provisions of the livestock rulesV.K. Biju, Advocate of petitioner Sabu Stephen
When this details exemplified in the court room, the Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha sought an adjournment until 9 August, as he said he was not aware of these facts.
Agreeing with the petitioner’s submission, Chief Justice Khehar said: “A simple reading of Section 38A tells us that you (the government) cannot say ‘I will not place the rules before the Parliament’.”
The Hindu further reports that Justice DY Chandrachud added that Section 38A invokes the spirit that “laying a law before the Parliament is important”. “It is an exercise of parliamentary control over the laws of the land,” Justice Chandrachud addressed the government.
The Centre told the Supreme Court that the rules will not be implemented in the current form, and that they are considering revising them. But Chief Justice KS Khehar pointed out, “But these rules in the current form is nevertheless in operation. Rules, once notified, are the law. Government cannot say we will not implement them.”
The Madras High Court on 30 May had stayed the notification banning the sale of cattle at animal markets for slaughter. On 11 July, the apex court had extended the Madras High Court’s stay to the entire country.