Illegal Transport and Butchering of Camels in Name of ‘Tradition’ Must be Controlled: Telangana High Court

In the case of Dr.Shashikala Kopanati vs Union Of India (WRIT PETITION (PIL). No.136 of 2020) where in a two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy observed how the authorities lack in not being able to control illegal transportation and butchering of camels. The Telangana HC said that it’s the duty of the state to make sure that camels are not slaughtered in name of traditions. This step was taken during the period when Bakrid was right around the corner and consuming camel meat was practiced among people of the state. It was remarked by the bench that, “The report submitted by the government does not state any concrete steps taken in the last five years”.

Facts of the Case: In the case, the petitioner pleaded that the camels brought into the state for consumption during the EID festival were illegally transported from Rajasthan and according to him this also can be considered as animal cruelty which is prohibited under the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and Rajasthan Camel (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 2015 clearly prohibits the transportation of camel outside of Rajasthan. He said that it is the duty of the State to ensure that camels are not being slaughtered in the name of tradition.

A report was submitted by Sanjiv Kumar a special government pleader stating that those eight camels have been rescued earlier. But this was questionable as it was vaguely stated from whom the animals were rescued and what action had been taken on those persons. The Chief Justice said, “How many unlicensed meat shops are running in city nobody knows. The authorities concerned should wake up to this menace”. This shows how the authorities lack in having knowledge of information related to the subject matter.

Judgment: – An order was passed by the bench directing the Union of India and the State to publicize through electronic and print media, stating the fact that the transportation and slaughtering of camels is an illegal activity. The bench also challenged the act of the Greater Hyderabad municipal corporation and the State government is not taking any appropriate steps or any actions in preventing the illegal transportation of camels into the State of Telangana.

 The bench noted that cruelty towards animals is prohibited under the Act of 1960, and expressed that since the transportation of camels out of Rajasthan is prohibited, the State has to ensure that camels are not brought into the State surreptitiously.

The authorities were asked to launch an investigation to check such illegal transport and slaughtering houses supplying the animal. Correspondingly, to take action against those who are violating the laws, and to prevent the illegal killing of camels, the bench required the state to inspect the licensed and unlicensed slaughterhouses in the Twin Cities of Hyderabad & Secunderabad.

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