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Madras HC stays Centre's order on cow slaughter

The Madras High Court on Tuesday stayed for four weeks the Centre's notification banning sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter, and sought its response to PILs which contended that the rules should have been approved by Parliament first.

A Madurai bench comprising Justices M V Muralidharan and C V Karthikeyan issued the interim order on the two pleas which said that the rules should be quashed as they were against the Constitution, breached the principle of federalism and were contrary to the parent legislation -- Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.

Referring to the contention of the petitioners that the notification was related to food and hence ought to have been approved by Parliament, the judges asked the Centre to respond to the point also in its counter to be filed in four weeks.

The order has come amid a raging row on the ban, with non-BJP parties and state governments of Kerala, West Bengal and Puducherry stridently opposing the Centre's recent notification.

Several places in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been witnessing protests during the past few days against the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter. Protesters have alleged that it infringed upon the food habits of people. The new rules notified by the Union environment ministry banned the sale or purchase of bulls, cows, camels for slaughter houses or for sacrifice for a religious purpose.

The right to choice of food (non-vegetarian or vegetarian) was part of the right to personal liberty and conscience and privacy.

A day after students of IIT-Madras organised a 'beef fest' inside the varsity campus, a PhD scholar on Tuesday was assaulted allegedly by a group of ABVP members for attending the event. The student, identified as R Sooraj, suffered severe injuries and also sustained a fracture in his right eye. The AVBP members had also allegedly issued death threats to all the 'beef eaters' on the campus. They had reportedly filed a complaint against the fest on Monday.
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