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Odisha seeking legal opinion on Kerala CM’s letter over cow slaughter

 State Government is consulting legal experts over the letter of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the new cattle slaughter issue before taking any decision in this regard.

Sources said, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after receiving a letter from Vijayan has directed the Home and Law departments to look into the legal aspects of the issue.

However, no senior official is ready to comment on the issue, they added.

The Kerala Chief Minister had on Monday wrote to all the Chief Ministers urging them to oppose the new directives issued by the Centre banning the sale of cattle meant for slaughter at animal markets across the country.

Vijayan described the new rules “anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular,” and urged the Chief Ministers to assert their Federal rights as the rules are an “impermissible encroachment into the domain of the State.”

In his letter the Kerala Chief Minister said, ”I am sure that you are already conversant with the Notification containing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 23rd May, 2017. The Rules impose a number of restrictions on cattle trade which would have serious repercussions on the livelihood of millions of people, especially those in the agricultural sector, in our country.”

He said, “It appears strange that the Rules are promulgated under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 since they have nothing to do with the objects of the Act. Neither are the Rules covered by the express delegation of legislative powers contained in the Act. Hence it is nothing but a covert attempt to usurp the powers of State legislatures in the guise of rules under a Central Act.”

“The subjects covered by the Rules belong to entries 15 and 18 of the State List in the Constitution. This impermissible encroachment into the domain of the State Legislatures is a clear violation of the spirit of federalism, which is acclaimed as one of the basic features of the constitution,” Vijayan said and added, “The Rules, by imposing unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right to carry on any trade or occupation under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution, will not stand the test of constitutionality. They also violate the basic right of a person to freedom of choice regarding his food.” He said it is rather unfortunate that such a drastic measure, producing serious consequences, was introduced in exercise of the rule making power, surpassing the elected representatives of the people and avoiding any public debate.

This is nothing but a negation of the democratic principle, which is indisputably accepted as forming part of the basic structure of the Constitution, the Kerala CM added.

According to him, apart from Constitutional and legal infirmities of the rules, the disastrous consequences which are likely to arise if these Rules are brought into force make one shudder.

“It will definitely produce a chaotic situation in the rural agricultural economy in all the States,” he said.

Vijayan said in his letter that unless the Chief Ministers of different state were together and oppose this anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular move, it may mark the beginning of a series of similar measures aimed at destroying the federal democratic fabric and secular culture of our country.

“I would therefore fervently appeal to you to convey your objection to the 2017 Rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to the Prime Minister, and to request him to withdraw the Rules introduced without any consultation with the States,” he urged.

Since the matters dealt within the Rules squarely fall within the purview of State Legislatures, the State Governments may be allowed to formulate necessary policies and laws to suit the socio-cultural and economic milieu of the State, he asserted.


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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