Dog meat ban: State govt gets 2 weeks to file counter-affidavit

Correspondent KOHIMA, SEP 15 (NPN) | Publish Date: 9/15/2020 12:57:53 PM IST

Gauhati High Court (GHC), Kohima Bench Monday granted two weeks to the state government to file its counter-affidavit on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed after the government had banned commercial import and trading of dogs.

Filed on September 2 calling for quashing of the notification, the petition pointed out that the government notification had several irregularities and hence could not face the test of law insofar as Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006, was concerned as the Act relates to laying down standards of food items that are not healthy for human consumption and did not lay down rules for slaughter of animals in particular. 

The purpose of the Act may be extendable to dogs, it admitted. 

Further, the PIL said the notification was issued by the chief secretary who has no authority under the Food Safety & Standards Act, adding that the authority of passing such orders was vested upon the commissioner of food safety under Section 30 (3) and to be done in consonance with the procedural law provided under Section 34 (1), (2) & (3). Only if satisfied that the items are not healthy for human consumption, can the commissioner of food safety issue prohibition order, but that too only for one year. 

Also, the notification was issued in violation of principles of natural justice and Article 21 of the Constitution of India as prohibition under the Act may be issued after a day’s notice to individuals or businessmen affected by such notification. According to the petition, no such notice was issued and livelihoods of citizens involved in dog business like commercial sale of dog meat in markets and restaurants and kitchens have been adversely affected.

And when fundamental rights are an issue, the petition said such a move required a legislative backing, which was lacking in this case, adding the chief secretary had issued the notification “by the shelter” of a cabinet decision. 

In response, the State government’s advocate V Zhimomi submitted that the ban was for marketing and selling of dog meat in the State and clarified that its consumption was not banned. Mentioning the matter was misplaced by the petitioner, he pointed out that the notification was issued by means of a cabinet decision by the chief secretary.

After hearing both sides, Justice S Hukato Swu listed the case after two weeks for consideration of the interim prayer and for filing counter-affidavit.

KMC acts to nab vendor selling dog meat

Following a report by Nagaland Post about a local vendor selling dog meat at Old MLA junction here despite the State government’s ban on commercial import and trading of dogs, Kohima Municipal Council (KMC) authorities have failed to nab the vendor.

KMC sources said a team from the municipal administration swung into action to nab the vendor as the person was liable to be punished under the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, but could not be traced. The sources added that the municipal administration was ensuring that the government order was strictly enforced.  

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