State opposes Centre's move to ban cattle sale for slaughter, to move SC

Report by: 
Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
Kolkata
29 May 2017

The West Bengal government today joined those of Kerala and Karnataka to oppose the central government's move to ban sale of cattle for the purpose of slaughter as it said it would move the Supreme Court against the ban.

The decision was conveyed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee who said it was another instance of the Centre's blatant encroachment in the powers of the state. On May 23 the Union environment ministry had notified the stringent 'Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017' under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Through this notification the Environment Ministry banned the sale of cattle in cattle markets for the purpose of slaughter. Both the CPM-led Kerala government and the Congress government in Karnataka opposed the move saying they would move the court against the Centre's decision.

``We will not accept this at all. What the Centre has done is arbitrary. If the central government is an elected government we too are an elected one. Trade and commerce as well as markets and fair are all state subjects and the Centre cannot make any legislation on this. There is the union list on which the Centre can make laws and we never venture to make any legislation on that. The way the central government is encroaching on our powers, they are destroying federal structure, it's unconstitutional and unethical. We will challenge it in the constitution bench (of the Supreme Court).We are consulting our advocate general and other legal experts,'' Mamata said at a media conference at Nabanna.

Officials of the department of animal resource development (ARD) of the state government however said they were looking at all papers to find out how to get out of the situation. ``We are studying the notification and other constitutional provisions regarding this. It's a central government notification and before defying it we will have to look at all aspects of it,'' a senior official of the state government told Echo of India. She also criticised cow vigilantes saying they were creating mayhem in the name of protecting cows. ``Even those who are carrying cows for milk are not spared. This is unacceptable,'' the chief minister said, adding all secular political parties should unite in this regard.

Mamata also referred to the way red beacons from vehicles were ordered to be removed by the central government. ``They sent an order overnight. It is arbitrary. We need badges for travelling along highways. We have written to the Central government for approval,'' the chief minister said. Meanwhile the state BJP criticised Mamata for allegedly sticking to the path of minority appeasement. ``The chief minister follows the instructions of fundamentalists. Let her go to the court. It will be decided there,'' Rahul Sinha, BJP general secretary, told Echo of India.