In an interim order on Friday, the Allahabad High Court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to start issuing fresh licences to meat sellers besides renewing old ones. The ruling comes as a relief to meat sellers whose licences have not been renewed since March, when the government had launched a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses.

The bench of Justices AP Shahi and Sanjay Harkauli also asked the government to file a reply by July 17 on what steps it has taken to implement this order. “The state government cannot shy away from its responsibility of regulating slaughter houses,” said Justice Shahi, according to Hindustan Times.

The court said that it was the responsibility of the local body to construct slaughterhouses, reported The Indian Express. The two-judge bench also asked district magistrates and divisional commissioners to take necessary action to regulate meat shops and slaughterhouses.

Advocate BK Singh, who represented the petitioners, took the ruling in his stride. “It is a clear direction to the state government to regulate meat trade,” Singh told Hindustan Times.

Chief Minister Adityanath had imposed a ban on all illegal slaughterhouses immediately after assuming office. It had been a promise made by the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the Assembly elections.

Adityanath’s move had led to an indefinite strike by meat sellers across the state. Several butcher shops and slaughterhouses had alleged that they were being targeted. Some said that even legal abattoirs were asked to close their shutters, while others alleged that the new administration was not willing to issue fresh licences or renew the old ones.