On Monday the Karnataka HC noted that “State will have to consider what happens to a common farmer,” while observing that either state will have to make a statement for time being that no coercive action will be taken for violation of Section 5 of the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2020, or it will pass appropriate orders.
The bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum observed that “List the petition day after tomorrow (January 20), at 2:30 pm. When the court will consider prayer for grant of limited interim relief concerning section 5, read with section 13 of the impugned ordinance. Wider prayer will be considered at a later stage.”
Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi urged that “Draft rules under the Act have been framed and we have invited objections for finalizing. Pending finalization of state rules the Transport of Animal Rules, 1978 under which Rules 46 to 56 provide for transportation of cattle, would be applicable. This is an interim arrangement.”
The bench noted that on inspection of the rules that the Central rules 46 to 56, will apply for transport by rail. While the proviso to section 22 of the Ordinance, is applicable for transporting in any manner. It stated “A farmer if he wants to take his cattle in the same village he will have to apply for a certificate. Ultimately we have to see what will happen at grass root level.”
The bench also suggested that “Either state will have to make a statement for time being no coercive action for violation of section 5, will be taken otherwise we will have to pass order”.
The bench also took on record the preliminary statement of objection filed by the state government to the petition. In its reply the state has said that “State Government subsequently has framed the Draft Rules, which enables the transport of cattle for bonafide agricultural or animal husbandry purposes. The Draft of the Rules namely Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle (Transportation of cattle) Rules 2020 is published in the Karnataka Gazette Extraordinary on 16.01.2021.”
It is also stated that “Under further proviso Section 22 of the Ordinance the Rules framed under the repealed act are continued to be in force. Further under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Central Government has framed The Transport of Animal Rules, 1978 under which Rules 46 to 56 provide for transportation of cattle which would be applicable till the rules under Section 5(2) of the Ordinance are brought brought into force. State further undertakes if any person wants to transport cattle under Section 5 of this Ordinance, he shall be permitted to if he complies with Rule 46 to Rule 56 of the Central Act.”
Further it is stated that “There are 4212 veterinary institutions throughout the State headed by veterinary officers and inspectors who are available on call and there 176 mobile clinics.”
While hearing a petition filed by Mohammed Arif Jameel challenging the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2020, the statement was filed. The petition claims that the law violates citizens’ constitutional rights and is unconstitutional. Furthermore, it is claimed that Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India guarantees citizens the right to conduct business and trade, subject to the reasonable restrictions referred to in Article 19(6).
A complete ban on the selling or resale of livestock would put an immense economic burden on farmers, cattle traders, who find it difficult to feed their children, but would have to feed the cattle because it is an offence under the law to starve or fail to sustain an animal. It is also said that the rise of “Cow Vigilantes” would contribute to it. The petition alleges that the new legislation violates the right to livelihood provided for in Article 21 of the Constitution. In addition, the right to choose food is claimed to be part of the right to personal freedom, conscience, and privacy. By imposing a ban on the slaughter of animals for food, citizens who have the option of consuming the flesh of such animals will be deprived of food which is in violation of Article 21.