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The Court was dealing with a plea raising apprehension that animals may be slaughtered during the upcoming Bakri Eid in public places in violation of applicable laws, including animal slaughter rules and COVID-19 norms.
The Madras High Court on Thursday issued a slew of guidelines to ensure the strict adherence of applicable animal slaughter laws during the upcoming Bakri Eid or Eid-al-adha celebrations (M/s Madurai North Indians Welfare Association v. Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu and Ors).
The Court was dealing with a plea raising apprehension that animals may be slaughtered during Bakri Eid in public places and in violation of applicable laws, including animal slaughter rules and COVID-19 norms.
Responding to the apprehensions raised, the Bench of Justices Dr Vineet Kothari and Krishnan Ramasamy has directed the State to ensure that the Slaughterhouse Rules, 2001, Transport of Animals Rules, 1978, and a Central Government Notification on the issue be strictly followed during Bakri Eid.
Following are the important guidelines issued:
The Rules, as well as the Government Notification, are to be implemented strictly. The Notification makes provision for the establishment of slaughterhouses, and prohibits the slaughter of even "permitted" categories of animals in other places. Prohibited categories such as camels and cows cannot be slaughtered anywhere.
Animals can be slaughtered only in "duly recognized, approved and licensed" slaughterhouses.
The Tamil Nadu state government is directed to notify rules for the observance of Eid-Al-Adha, or Bakri Eid, just as states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka have done.
The Court emphasised that the mandate against these rules assumed more significance in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Court expressed hope that the order will be complied by all in letter and spirit, "not only in all times generally, but particularly in COVID 19 period also, which is a serious existential threat to the humanity itself."
Further, observing that the prohibition on slaughter in public places was not solely for the occasion of Bakri Eid, the Court stated, "the compliance of Rules shall be made in its letter and spirit by all the authorities concerned even on the ensuing Bakrid or other religious festivals."
Before parting with the order, the Bench also added, "we would also urge the leaders in society, like political leaders and religious leaders and other social activists, as stated by the First Prime Minister of our country Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru that 'Real kindness comes from a sense of friendship with animals', to propagate the idea of friendliness with animals and non violence to them and the good message and spirit..."
The matter will next be taken up on August 20, 2020.
The State has also been directed to file a 'status report' and respond to the legal questions raised in the plea in three weeks.
Read the Court's Order here: