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20 Jun, 2017

Muzzling freedom of expression in India – The Hindu

By Kapil Sibal

What I eat is part of my freedom of expression. It is part of my identity. Also my desire to eat what I want, unless prohibited by law, is a matter of my choice. Exercise of choice is part of a person’s individuality. No one can pre-empt my right to exercise that choice. The recent decision of the Ministry of Environment prohibiting trade of cattle and other animals meant for slaughter is baffling. This is sought to be accomplished by issuing a notification under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules 2017 (‘Rules’).

Cattle under the new Rules include bulls, bullocks, buffaloes, cows, heifers, steers, calves and camel. Apart from a written declaration that cattle will not be sold for slaughter, an undertaking will have to be given to market committees that cattle will be sold for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter. Under the Rules, records of such sales will have to be preserved for six months. Given this, the grievance of the States that the Union is seeking to interfere in areas within their exclusive domain is justified, despite a facile clarification by the Finance Minister.

Read the rest: Muzzling freedom of expression – The Hindu