The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday directed the state government to seal all illegal slaughterhouses in the state within 72 hours, PTI reported. It also directed officials to ensure that animals are not slaughtered in open spaces from now on.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by one Parvez Alam. He submitted pictures of animals being slaughtered brutally and said it happens openly on roads and in illegal abattoirs.

“How can the authorities permit the slaughtering of animals in the streets, in villages and towns, is beyond our comprehension,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Tiwari said. “Animals also have constitutional legal rights. The authorities cannot remain mute spectators towards the slaughtering of animals, that too, in a very beastly manner.”

It further said: “It is the duty cast upon the statutory authorities, including police, to ensure that no illegal slaughtering takes place and the Slaughter House must conform to the standards laid down by the State Pollution Control Board and the Pollution Controlling Committees.”

It also directed the state government to constitute a Committee for Slaughter Houses as per a letter by the Ministry of Environment and Forest in 2012 within seven days. “It is the duty cast upon all the Executive Officers of the Local Self Government, Municipal Corporations, Municipalities, Nagar Panchayats and other Panchayats to ensure that no animal is slaughtered in the public and at open spaces, open to public gaze,” it added.

Last month, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had said his government will not allow any new slaughterhouses in the state and will cancel earlier licences.