Justices Vineet Kothari and Krishnan Ramasamy issued the direction after suo motu including AWBI and its secretary S.K. Dutta as respondents to a public interest litigation petition. Madurai North Indian Welfare Association, represented by its president J. Hukamsingh, had filed the case seeking closure of slaughter houses in Tamil Nadu during Paryushan Parva.

NEWS STATES TAMIL NADU
TAMIL NADU
Why did you withdraw circular on closure of slaughter houses? HC asks AWBI
Mohamed Imranullah S.
CHENNAI 20 AUGUST 2020 00:41 IST
UPDATED: 20 AUGUST 2020 00:42 IST

Says, not just Jainism but also Christianity and Islam propound non-violence against all living beings
Observing that concern for all living things was the basic tenet of not just Jainism but also that of Christianity and Islam, the Madras High Court has directed Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to explain why it withdrew a circular issued on August 6 for closure of slaughter houses across the country during Paryushan Parva between August 15 and 24.

Justices Vineet Kothari and Krishnan Ramasamy issued the direction after suo motu including AWBI and its secretary S.K. Dutta as respondents to a public interest litigation petition. Madurai North Indian Welfare Association, represented by its president J. Hukamsingh, had filed the case seeking closure of slaughter houses in Tamil Nadu during Paryushan Parva.

The petitioner’s counsel K.R. Laxman relied upon the AWBI’s August 6 circular to claim that all States across the country had been asked to close the slaughter houses during the Jain festival. However, Advocate General Vijay Narayan told the court that AWBI had withdrawn its circular on August 11 and hence the petitioner’s request could not be acceded to.

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Though the litigant had also cited the Vinayaka Chaturthi festival falling on August 22 as a reason for closing slaughter houses in the State, the A-G said, Vinayaka Chaturthi was already in the list of nine days when all slaughter houses in the State must remain closed. He said that slaughter in other public places was also not allowed on those nine days.

Such restriction was imposed on Pongal, Mattu Pongal, Vadalur Ramalingasamy Day, Gandhi Jayanti, Mahaveer Jayanti, Buddha Jayanti, Mahaveer Nirvana Day and Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. Similarly, liquor shops remain closed on Tiruvalluvar Day, Independence Day, Republic Day, May Day, Mahaveer Jayanti, Gandhi Jayanti, Vallalar’s death anniversary and Milad-un-Nabi.

The A-G said that closing slaughter houses for the entire duration of Paryushan Parva would affect the interests of other communities and meat eaters. He informed the court that AWBI had issued the August 6 circular on a wrong understanding of a 2008 Supreme Court order which applied only to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation with a sizeable population of Jains.

On the other hand, the petitioner’s counsel quoted verses from the Bible and Quran to claim that those religious scriptures too propound the theory of non-violence against animals. After recording his submissions, the judges directed AWBI to file an affidavit explaining reasons for withdrawing the August 6 circular and also produce records to show who had approved the withdrawal.

When advocate Naveen Kumar Murthi and A. Raja Mohamed stated that they wanted to get impleaded in the case on behalf of meat eaters and oppose the petitioner’s plea, the judges permitted them to do so. They said even Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and others who wanted to get impleaded could file appropriate applications before September 9.

In the meantime, they directed the State government to implement the ban on opening of slaughter houses on the day of Vinayaka Chaturthi strictly and file a compliance report. They also permitted the petitioner to challenge AWBI’s decision to withdraw the circular and also an order passed by the Chief Secretary on August 17 refusing to close slaughter houses during Payushan Parva.

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