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Kerala CM writes to counterparts to stand together and oppose cattle sale ban

Tuesday, May 30, 2017,11:35 IST By joji A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Monday wrote letters to his counterparts in other states asking them to “stand together” and “oppose” the ban on sale of cattle for slaughter and urge the Prime Minister to withdraw the new regulations.
“Unless we stand 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,” Vijayan said in his letter.
“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 said in the letter to various chief ministers.
He said that since the matters dealt within the rules squarely fall within the purview of state legislatures, the state governments should be allowed to formulate necessary policies and laws to suit the socio-cultural and economic milieu of the state.
The rules impose several restrictions on cattle trade, which would have serious repercussions on the livelihood of millions of people, especially those in the agricultural sector, in the country.
“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,” he said.
Vijayan said it was 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, he said.
This “impermissible encroachment” into the domain of the state legislatures was a “clear violation of the spirit of federalism”, which is one of the basic features of the constitution, he said.
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 unfortunate that such a drastic measure was introduced in exercise of the rule making power, surpassing the elected representatives of the people and avoiding any public debate,” he said.
“This is nothing but a negation of the democratic principle, which is indisputably accepted as forming part of the basic structure of the constitution,” Vijayan said.
Apart from the 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,” he said.
It will definitely produce a chaotic situation in the rural agricultural economy in all the states, the chief minister added.

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