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You can’t deprive people of food, livelihood: HC on UP slaughterhouse crackdown (downtoearth)

Private life of an individual is being severely affected due to a crackdown on slaughterhouses, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court observed today while hearing a petition filed by a meat shop owner seeking renewal of the license.

The court, accordingto the report by News 18 , has given Uttar Pradesh government 10 days to convene a meeting and decide on the issue so that the livelihood of individuals and their right to carry a trade and profession is not neglected in any way. The next hearing will be on April 13.

According to the petitioner, a goat meat seller, the Nagar Palika Parishad of Lakhimpur Kheri was not renewing his license that expired on March 31. This is directly affecting his ability to survive since he earns his living by selling goat meat.

Besides noting that the inaction of the state government affects livelihood of the meat shop owners and violate their right to trade and profession—fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution—the division bench of Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Sanjai Harkauli observed that the “inaction of the state government in the past should not be a shield for imposing a state of almost prohibition”.

Asserting that the Uttar Pradesh government cannot ignore legal slaughterhouses, it stated that providing an immediate check on unlawful activity “should be simultaneous with facilitating the carrying out of lawful activity”, particularly as that’s related to food and food habits, which is undisputedly connected with the right to life. The court also observed that “sudden closure of facilities of slaughtering has forced retail vendors to face the abrupt curtains drawn on their means of livelihood”.

The court also said that food habits, socio-economic status of the society, availability of foodstuff at affordable prices and the convenience of availability are “issues that need a deliberation before any overt or covert action is taken”.

According to media reports, about 2.5 million people are directly or indirectly employed in this Rs 26,000-crore industry of Uttar Pradesh. Out of the 72 government-approved slaughterhouses in the country, more than half of them are in Uttar Pradesh.

While government records suggest that Uttar Pradesh has more than 375 illegal slaughterhouses, the state pollution control board says there are 185 abattoirs in the state of which 140 were operating illegally. In the last few weeks, the government has sealed more than 20 illegal slaughterhouses and several meat shops in the state.

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