The central government did not place its cattle notification before the Parliament, a reply to a Right to Information query says, The Hindu reported. The reply came after petitioners had challenged the rules in the Supreme Court, arguing that they should have been presented to the Parliament before being implemented.

In May, the central government had banned the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter, for which they had been hugely criticised by several groups and leaders, including from states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The petitioner Sabu Stephen had pointed out on August 4, that according to the Act under which the notification was framed – Section 38A of the Prevention of Cruelty Act of 1960 – any rules under it should be placed before Parliament “as soon as it is made”, the report said. The rules under this Act should be presented to the Parliament for a total of 30, and any changes proposed should be incorporated. The Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha sought an adjournment until August 9, as he said he was not aware of these facts.

The RTI reply said that as of July 27, the cattle trade rules had not been sent to the Parliament. It said, they were “not forwarded by the Ministry concerned, i.e., the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, for laying on the table of the House so far. Hence, not laid till date”.

The central government assured the Supreme Court that the trade rules will not be implemented as they are, and that they are considering revising them. But Chief Justice KS Khehar pointed out, “But these rules in the current form is nevertheless in operation. Rules, once notified, are the law. Government cannot say we will not implement them.”

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on May 30 had stayed the notification banning the sale of cattle at animal markets for slaughter. On July 11, the apex court had extended the Madras High Court’s stay to the entire country.