Cattle Trade Rule Had Nothing To Do With State Laws, Says Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said animal markets are meant for farmers and not traders.

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Cattle Trade Rule Had Nothing To Do With State Laws, Says Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the existing laws are continuing.


New Delhi:  Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the Centre's rule on cattle trade has nothing to do with state rules on animal slaughter. The rule, which bans sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, has triggered widespread protests in southern states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and in the northeast, where beef is a staple.

Animal markets, Mr Jaitley said, are meant for farmers and not traders. The existing laws are continuing and the notification has "nothing to do with state legislations" with regard to slaughter of cattle, he was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.

"Every state has its own legislation or no legislation (with regard to slaughter of cattle). You have provision in the Constitution Article 48 (Directive Principles), which says certain category of animals have to be protected," PTI quoted Mr Jaitley as saying.

Prohibition of cow slaughter mentioned in Article 48 of the Constitution is not an enforceable article.  It leaves the states free to have their own rules on cow slaughter and beef consumption.

Critics have questioned why only bovines were included in the new rule, which has come under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Chicken, goats and lambs, they said, have been excluded from its ambit.

Earlier this week, protests against the rule spread across some states. Chief Ministers of Kerala and Bengal accused the Centre of overstepping its limits and infringing on states' rights. As the protests swelled, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court suspended the rule for a month. Within this time, the court asked the Centre and the state governments to respond to the petitioner's contention that the order violates the basic right of a person to choose what he eats.


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