Will address issues on cattle trade ban honestly: Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: All issues related to the Centre’s recent notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter will be addressed “seriously and honestly”, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said.

On a day when the Supreme Court sought response from the Centre on pleas challenging the controversial notification, the Environment Minister said that the government will reach out to persons, who have a “heartburn” over this issue.

“The Supreme Court has given us time till July 11, but we will file our response before it,” Vardhan said.

The ban on sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter has hit the export and trade of meat and leather.

“We have already said that whosoever has any concern related to this issue, we (Centre) will seriously and honestly address those,” the minister told reporters on the sidelines of a function at the Delhi zoo.

“We will reach out to any person in India who have a heartburn on this issue,” he said.

A vacation bench of the apex court comprising Justices RK Agrawal and SK Kaul issued notice to the Centre and asked it to file response within two weeks on two separate petitions challenging the notification.

It has fixed the matter for hearing on July 11.

Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that the intention behind bringing the notification was to have a regulatory regime on cattle trade across the country.

The Centre had on May 26 banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter through an Environment Ministry notification — Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 — under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

One of the petitioners, Hyderabad-based Mohammed Abdul Faheem Qureshi, had in his plea, filed on June 7, contended that the notification was “against the freedom of religious practice to sacrifice animals” and imposing a ban on slaughter of animals for food violates the right to food, privacy and personal liberty guaranteed to a citizen under the Constitution.