330/2001 connected to : Writ Petition (Civil) 309 OF 2003
Slaughter Houses -Pollution

Summary :

The petition was filed in 2001, praying for remedial measures against the rampant malpractices in slaughter houses, notably improper waste disposal,slaughter of diseased animals and employment of children in the trade. It raises raises the issue of environmental pollution and draws attention to the abysmal state of affairs in unlicensed slaughter houses at various places in the country.

It further draws attention to the fact that the employment of children in slaughter houses and roadside vends is not only violative of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 but also morally reprehensible and causes deep psychic reactions in young minds. Therefore it was requested that the Court may be pleased to exparte direct the respondents to ensure that no child is employed in or in connection with or related to the act of slaughter of any animal or poultry whether in a registered slaughter house or outside. 

A bench headed by Justice K G Balakrishnan on 28.08.08 advocated upgradation of infrastructure in slaughter houses in India and called for strict checks over private abattoirs operating without license. “The slaughter houses should have the most advanced technology so that there should be cleanliness and hygiene”, the bench observed. The court also expressed displeasure over the disposal of bio-products of slaughtered animals in the capital.

The Bench asked the Centre and other respondents to provide information relating to the Ghazipur slaughter house. The Court had also directed the Central and State Pollution Control Boards and the Animal Welfare Board to confirm compliance with the laws for prevention of cruelty to animals and environment protection. The Ministry of Environment & Forest filed a compliance report on August 27, 2013 along with guidelines to be followed by the State Committees for ensuring effective supervision of slaughter houses. 

The Apex Court requested the High Courts in January 2014 to nominate retired District Judges to act as conveners of the state level committees constituted to monitor the implementation of the Court orders as well as the regulatory framework prepared by the MOEF. The Committees would submit quarterly reports to the Court. Deploring the inaction of the state governments, the Court directed the defaulters at the hearing on September 2, 2014 to ensure compliance of its orders within four weeks. At the hearing on March 27, 2015, the counsel for Union of India informed the Court that an ‘Expert Panel’ was constituted to look into the issue. He submitted that the last meeting of the Panel was held in July 2014 and another was to be held ‘shortly’. The Court, not convinced with the submission, imposed cost of Rs. 5,000 on the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution for unnecessary adjournments and deferral in the matter.  

In a previous hearing, the Court had also nominated the Secretary, Urban Development as the nodal officer for monitoring the functioning of the State Committees and directed him to file an affidavit on whether all the State Committees have been set up within 4 weeks. He was also directed to report on the enforcement of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2000, and the implementation of the broad framework prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the State Committees for slaughter houses. However, as the affidavit had not been filed till the day of hearing, a cost of Rs. 5,000 was imposed on the Ministry of Urban Development as well for the delay. The matter is connected to W.P. (C) 309/2003 filed by Laxmi Narain Modi.

On 26 Feb, the UoI sought an adjournment which was granted. A cost of Rs. 25000 was however imposed by the Court. Welfare Board was impleaded as a respondent and an affidavit from the Environment Ministry has been sought on compliance of the court orders.

This matter was taken up May 2, 2016, when cost was imposed on six states for not filing the compliance report. The ASG was directed to finalise the BIS standards and the last opportunity granted to her. On July 18, 2016, the Court took note of the cost deposited by the states which had failed to file the compliance report.

At the hearing held on September 26, the Court directed that an index of the various standards, rules and statutes governing the slaughtering of animals and management of slaughter houses be prepared for circulation to all concerned so that the management of the slaughtering of animals and slaughter houses is done more efficiently.

Pursuant to the Courts orders of September and October 2016, a compendium of the Indian Standards governing the slaughtering of animals and management of slaughter houses was prepared along with all relevant material in consultation with stake-holders. The Court directed the UOI to print the compendium in sufficient numbers and circulate it to all the State Governments and Union Territories for compliance. The Court directed the Union of India to comply with its orders within six weeks from the date of the order.

The Court disposed of this case on February 17, 2017, with the observation that the petitioners were entitled to approach the concerned District Collector or the judicial authorities, as the case may be, in the event of non-compliance with the Indian Standards, and other rules and regulations.