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Court vacates order banning camel slaughter

The Hindu , Monday, January 01, 2007
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Saturday vacated its December 28 order banning camel slaughter in Tamil Nadu.
Entertaining a batch of review petitions filed by the Dastagir Sahib Jamia Mosque and Endowments and Advocates Meelad Forum and others, a vacation Bench, however, directed local health officials and Public Health Officers to certify the site/place of slaughtering and check the health condition of the animals as stipulated.
The Bench of Justice P. Jyothimani and Justice K. Chandru also expressed resentment at the State Government's failure to file a counter-affidavit to a similar petition filed about a year ago.
On December 28, passing interim orders on a public interest litigation petition filed by the Bharathiya Prani Mithra Sangh and others, the Bench had banned camel slaughter and asked the authorities to ensure no camel was slaughtered in Tamil Nadu.
When the present batch of review petitions came up for hearing, Government Pleader Raja Kalifulla submitted that the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act could not be enforced in places other than Chennai as it had been notified only for Chennai city. Section 28 of the Act exempted slaughtering of animals for religious purposes, whereas Section 296 and 298 of the Madras City Municipal Corporation Act empowered the Corporation Commissioner to permit slaughter of animals in places other than slaughterhouses.
However, the judges pointed out that the original notification of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act used the name `Madras', and hence the entire State was covered by the Act. Concurring with the submissions of G. Rajendran, they said: "We are prima facie of the opinion that the whole State of Tamil Nadu is covered by the Act, and proceed accordingly to decide the matter."
S. Prabakaran, counsel for the Dastagir Sahib Jamia Mosque and Endowments, submitted that slaughter would not be done in any public place, and that it was not for any commercial purpose.
S. Parthasarathy, counsel for the Bharathiya Prani Mithra Sangh, argued that camel slaughter was not an "essential religious practice."
Directing the State Government to file its counter-affidavit in four weeks, the Bench adjourned the matter to the first week of March for further proceedings.