It is a basic right of an individual to choose his food, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court said while staying an order by the Centre, prohibiting the sale of cattle for slaughter, for four weeks.
The court also sought the reply of the state and the Centre with regard to this new rule on the ban on sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets.
Even as the Centre issued a fresh explanation of this ban, more and more states are pushing back against this law, saying it is against the interest of the people.
Along with Kerala and West Bengal, Tripura has also said now that the law won't be implemented in the state.
IANS quoted Tripura's Agriculture and Animal Resource Development Minister Aghore Debbarma. "The new cattle trade and slaughter rules framed by the Central government are against the interest of the people. We will not carry out the new rules," he told IANS.
"The Central government is yet to send us the new cattle trade and slaughter rules. They did not consult us on this issue," he added.
"If people are not able to sell their cattle, how will they take care of livestock when it turns unnecessary for them? How will it be determined that the cattle being purchased from the market are for slaughtering?" asked Debbarma.
The Centre meanwhile issued an explanation saying the new measure was to make animal markets "hubs for trade for animal for agriculture ... and animal for slaughter will have to be bought from the farmers at the farms".
It said, "The notified rules will remove the scope of illegal sale and smuggling of the cattle which is a major concern. The specific provisions apply only to animals which are bought and sold in the notified live stock markets and animals that are seized as case properties. These rules do not cover other areas."
But many states are not convinced.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too was of the opinion that the Centre could not impose its decisions on the states.
The Hindustan Times quoted her as saying, "We won't accept the Centre's decision, it is unconstitutional and we will challenge it legally," she said.
"We are not bound to abide by the Centre's new decision. This is a subject on the concurrent list. How can they bulldoze? Who are they to decide who will eat what and who will wear what?" Banerjee said.
Banerjee's counterpart in Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, meanwhile, has led the pushback against the new rules on the sale of cattle.
He wrote a letter to chief ministers of all states, urging them to oppose the cattle ban. Vijayan, in his letter, highlighted that the Centre has taken this decision without debate.
Scroll quoted his letter saying, "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."
While the decision was taken by the BJP government at the Centre, party leaders in the state of Meghalaya opposed the decision and even threatened to quit if it was not pulled back.
"Most party leaders in Meghalaya are not happy with the new rules which are directly affecting the socio-economic status of the people," BJP Vice President John Antonius Lyngdoh told IANS.
"We cannot accept the new rules on cattle trade and slaughter. We cannot go against our food behaviour besides putting the economic interest of those people dealing in cattle trade and slaughter in jeopardy," the former Food and Civil Supplies Minister said.
He added, "It will be difficult for the candidates to campaign as the electorate won't back a party which goes against the interests of the people."
Telangana also said it wanted the Centre to lift the ban.
Deccan Chronicle quoted animal husbandry minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav as saying, "Such unilateral decisions taken by the Centre will create unnecessary problems in [the] states. This issue is under the consideration of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. He is expected to convene a meeting soon and decide how to go ahead on [it]."
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