India’s Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to the central government, seeking its response to the recent ban on the purchase and sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets that have been opposed by many states.
A two-judge bench issued the notice and asked the central government to file its response within two weeks. The next date of hearing of the case is on July 11.
The apex court’s notice came in the wake of a petition by a lawyer, Fahim Qureshi, saying the government’s notification on the purchase and sale of cattle for slaughter was “discriminatory” and “unconstitutional” as it violated the cattle trader’s right to free trade.
The Indian Environment Ministry last month imposed a ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter, saying that cattle for slaughter will have to be bought from farmers directly, defining cattle as bulls, cows, buffalo, steers, heifers, calves and camels.
The regulation was meant to protect “animals from cruelty and not to regulate the existing trade in cattle for slaughter houses,” the ministry said. Two Indian states, Kerala in the south and West Bengal in the east, have already objected to the central government’s ban, saying it was as an infringement on state powers and asserted that they would challenge it in a court of law.