By A Mirsab, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs, on Tuesday, evaded answering a question on ‘Animal sacrifice cases’ posed by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.
Owaisi asked if cases of animal sacrifices are on the rise in the country on different religious occasions and their details, but Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, Minister of State for Ministry Of Home Affairs, said that the data on animal sacrifices cases on different religious occasions are not maintained centrally.
Owaisi also wanted to know if Supreme Court has refused to interfere with religious practices citing the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act. Chaudhary replied, ‘No such instance has come to the notice of the Ministry of Home Affairs’.
Owaisi was apparently referring to Supreme Court’s observation that had come during the hearing of a PIL in September this year that had sought to employ trained butchers for animal sacrifice during religious occasions.
A bench of then Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy had refused to interfere with religious practices and said that the judiciary could not stop centuries-old traditions of sacrificing animals by different communities.
Chaudhary was able to avoid the citations of Supreme Court, because looking at the inclination of divisional bench of the judge, the petitioner had withdrawn the PIL and hence Supreme Court’s observations were not reported.
Citing Supreme Court’s above comments, Owaisi wanted to ask Ministry whether animal sacrifice is confined to any single religion and if so, what steps have been, or are being, taken by the Government to ensure that religious practices are protected in the country under Right to Religion granted by Indian Constitution.
However, Chaudhary replied of not noticing such instance and could systematically escape answer above question.
Section 28 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 provides “Nothing contained in this Act shall render it an offence to kill any animal in a manner required by the religion of any community”.
It seems that Owaisi wanted to draw Ministry’s attention towards an exception made by the legislatures during the enacting of the Act, which allows for animal sacrifices if followed by religious practices of different communities, especially by Muslims during Eid-Ul-Adha.
Due to enactment of anti-beef laws recently by BJP government in Maharashtra and Haryana, Muslims were prevented from sacrificing bovines during Eid-Ul-Adha this year.