Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan urges his counterparts to stand up against Centre's 'anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular move'.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday urged the chief ministers of other states to raise their voices against restrictions imposed on cattle trade, while saying that the Centre's 'anti-democratic' notification is an attempt to usurp the state governments' powers in the guise of rules under a Central Act.
Vijayan wrote a letter to the chief ministers saying that the restrictions imposed on cattle trade would adversely affect the livelihood of the millions of people, especially, those in the agriculture sectors.
"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 restriction on cattle trade which would have serious repercussions on the livelihood of millions of people, especially those in the agricultural sector, in our country," the letter read.
Vijayan further said that the Centre's new rule is an impermissible encroachment into the domain of the State legislatures which is a clear 'violation of the spirit of federalism.'
"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," he said in the letter.
The chief minister further said that the Centre's new rule violates the basic right of a person to freedom of choice regarding his food.
"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," he added.
He further said that it was unfortunate that such a drastic measure, producing serious consequences, was introduced without 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," he said.
Asserting that the move would produce a chaotic situation in the rural agricultural economy in all the states, 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."
Urging the chief ministers to stand up against Centre's 'anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular move', Vijayan said that they need to request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the rules introduced without any consultation with the states.
"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. 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 said.
Earlier, criticizing the Centre's order, Vijayan said that he didn't need a "lesson in food habits from New Delhi or Nagpur."
"Those sitting in Nagpur and Delhi cannot decide the food habits of Malayalis," he said.
Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan ordered that the ministry has notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 to ensure that the sale of cattle is not meant for slaughter purposes.
He said the seller and buyer both have to ensure that the cattle is not being bought or sold in the market for slaughter purposes.
The rules also state that the purchaser shall not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose or sell it to a person outside the state without permission and must keep in with the state's cattle protection laws.
Youth Congress organised beef festival in front of Ernakulam BJP office in Kochi. Photograph: PTI Photo