New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to frame rules to stop illegal transportation of cattle to Nepal within three months.
A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra asked the Centre to come up with the rules within three months after the counsel appearing for Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) sought six months time to frame them.
“Counsel representing MoEF submits that the draft rules have been prepared and will be notified within six months time. We direct the Centre that the rules be framed within three months,” the bench said.
The apex court said since states and Centre have already given their suggestions on the issue and agreed on various aspects of the matter, there should not be any delay in framing of the rules.
The bench also asked the Centre to hold a meeting with the states bordering Bangladesh to evolve a mechanism including some long-term measures to stop illegal transportation of cattle.
The court is hearing a PIL that alleged a large number of cattle is exported illegally to Nepal for Gadhimai festival held once in five years. The festival took place last on November 28-29, 2014.
The PIL, filed by animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi, sought directions to the Centre and states like Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, which share border with Nepal, for putting in place a comprehensive mechanism to stop illegal trafficking of cattle.
Earlier, the court had asked the Centre and the states bordering Nepal to maintain tight vigil on the international border and ensure that no illegal transportation of cattle takes place for being sacrificed during the Gadhimai festival.
Seeking suggestions from all the states concerned and the Centre, it had hailed the efforts undertaken by them and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) on the issue. Besides arresting around 70 people, SSB had rescued nearly 2,000 animals from being illegally sent to Nepal.
The Centre had told the court that it cannot do anything to ensure that animals are not sacrificed in Nepal.
The bench had then said it also cannot pass any order regarding treatment of animals in the neighbouring country. But it said it would pass a direction to prevent torture of animals while they are being taken to Nepal.
The petitioner had alleged that 5,00,000 animals are slaughtered over two days in the festival and over 70 per cent of these animals were brought illegally from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
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