Chennai, July 31: The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the State government to ensure that animals were slaughtered only in licensed slaughterhouses and not in public places either during the ensuing Bakrid festival or any other religious festival.
Justices Vineet Kothari and Krishnan Ramasamy ordered that only permitted category of animals should be allowed to be slaughtered under due certification of medical practitioners and not cows and camels which fall under the prohibited category in some States, The Hindu reported.
The interim orders were passed on a public interest litigation petition filed by Madurai North Indian Welfare Association through its counsel K.R. Laxman. The petitioner association feared the spread of COVID-19 if animals were traded or slaughtered in public places.
Finding force in the apprehension, the judges began their interim order quoting Mahatma Gandhi to have said that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” and went on to issue a series of directions to the government.
They directed the police, municipal authorities as well as State government officials to ensure strict and literal implementation of the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules of 2001 and also the rules related to transportation of animals.
The State government was also directed to strictly follow a notification issued by the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying on June 18 instructing States and Union Territories to prevent slaughtering of animals in public places.
The Bench also referred to submissions of Mr. Laxman that the Government of Maharashtra had issued a notification on June 17 requesting citizens to opt for symbolic sacrifice during Bakrid and to perform prayers at their homes instead of congregating at public places.
“We would expect the State of Tamil Nadu also to issue the guidelines for Goat Eid, immediately, in consonance with the guidelines issued by the States of Maharashtra and Karnataka,” the judges said and hoped that all concerned would comply with the laws in force.
“We expect and express our hope that compliance of the provisions of the Act and the rules and court orders… will be made by all concerned including the citizens belonging to a particular community in true letter and spirit not only in all times but particularly in COVID-19 period. We would also urge the leaders in society like the political leaders, religious leaders and social activists to propagate the idea of friendliness with animals and non-violence to them and the good message and spirit which was at the bottom of the PCA Act and the rules,” the judges said.
They also concluded their order quoting former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who said: “Real kindness comes from a sense of friendship.” Since the interim order was passed at the admission stage, the PIL petition was adjourned by three weeks filing a counter affidavit and a status report.