CJI demands the Centre to repeal Cattle Protection Rules

The court noted that the cow protection laws result in "frequent looting of the animals and serve as triggers for the communal polarisation of society


A bench led by SA Bobde, Chief Justice of India, heard the plea challenging the Validity of 2017 Rules under the Animals Cruelty Prevention Act that allow authorities to seize vehicles used in the transport of cattle and send the animals to gaushalas or cow shelters and ordered the Centre within a week to consider repealing the rules. ASG Jayant Sood submitted to the Bench that by next Monday he will seek guidance and file a brief Affidavit.

In a December 2020 piece on Gauri Lankesh News notes, “It is hard to ignore the deep-seated caste connotations in the verdict and the prevailing sentiment of caste-based occupation and the hegemonic food practices, i.e of the upper castes. The upper castes use the cows for milk and in farms and once the animal is too old to be used and collapses in exhaustion, it is up to the oppressed caste- who lived on the exteriors of the city to come in and carry the dead animal away. So the oppressed castes can carry the dead cow and the skin of the cow but cannot take the flesh of the animal and eat it as food.”

While contemplating the plea, CJI Bobde observed“Either you change it or we will stay it”.
CJI added, “Animals are a source of livelihood, not cats and dogs. You can not take this away, and it is also against the Act’s Section 29. Your rules are contradictory.”
The plea, lodged by the Buffalo Traders Welfare Association, states that the provisions of the 2017 Rules for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Conservation of Case Property Animals) and the 2017 Rules for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) were notified on May 23, 2017, by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change are unconstitutional in nature.

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It has also been mentioned that the laws result in “frequent looting of the animals in violation of the Rule of Law while running contrary to the Act itself. Some groups are encouraged to take the law into their own hands.

In addition, these events serve as triggers for the communal polarization of society, and if not efficiently and quickly prevented, they would have catastrophic consequences for the country’s social fabric.

In 2017, the Centre had told the court that it was considering the withdrawal of these rules.

“It is also the contention of the Union of India, that a large number of representations depicting the allegedly unworkable and unacceptable provisions of the Rules have been received, and a number of writ petitions have been filed in different High Courts, besides those which have been filed before this Court. It is pointed out, that the issues of challenge raised in the representations and writ petitions are the subject matter of afresh consideration by the Government of India. It is pointed out, that the Ministry of Environment and Forests, is presently seized of the matter, and after an appropriate determination, changes if any, as may be considered appropriate will be introduced after which the amended Rules, shall be re-notified. We record the above statement made to this Court on behalf of the Government of India”, a bench headed by the then CJI had recorded in the order.

Observing this, a bunch of pleas questioning the rules that the stay orders passed by the High Courts are applicable across the nation were then disposed of by the bench.


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