West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday termed as “unconstitutional” the Central government’s amended rule forbidding cattle trade for slaughter and said the decision would be challenged legally by her government.
“This is a destructive attitude to federal structure, unnecessary bulldozing, encroaching and interference to federal structure,” she said.
“The law is very clear. According to the Article 246 of Indian Constitution, the legislature of any state has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matter enumerated in Seventh Schedule. The law is clear, still the decision is being forced down our throats. We are not accepting that. We will challenge it legally and constitutionally for interference in state power.
“This is a deliberate attempt to encroach the state power. This is absolutely unconstitutional, unethical and undemocratic,” said Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo.
Stating that market, trade and commerce fall within the jurisdiction of the states, Banerjee said such laws are deliberate attempts to encroach on their powers and that the state governments should have been consulted before taking the decision.
Referring to the new regulations in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, she claimed some sections of the law are contradictory and requested the central government not to come up with such laws in future.
“The law says that the sale and purchase of cattle in any market for the purpose of slaughter has been prohibited. However it also says that the animals for slaughter would have to be bought from the farmers at the farms. This itself is contradictory,” she claimed.
“How to distinguish between a cow to be used in farming purposes and a cow taken out for slaughter,” she asked.
She urged the Centre to stop interfering in the “state matters”.
“Let good sense prevail. We will consult the Advocate General and lawyers. We will fight the case as there is a constitutional breach. I will request the central government not to come up with laws like this. Also do not interfere in the states’ matters,” she added.