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Top court glare on abattoir panels

New Delhi, Jan. 30: The Supreme Court today directed all states and Union territories to induct retired district judges into monitoring committees for slaughterhouses, saying the panels in their current form had failed to discharge their obligations.

The court regretted that despite its August 2013 directive to set up special committees for periodic inspection of slaughterhouses, no concrete measures had been taken so far.

Committees had been constituted by states but the desired objective has not been achieved, a bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Pinaki Chandra Ghose said.

They cited the reports on the matter from states to assert that slaughterhouses continued to function in an unorganised way, many without proper licences.

“We notice that there is no periodical supervision or inspection of various slaughterhouses functioning in various parts of the country. We feel that the presence of an experienced judicial officer would give more life and light to the committees…(as he) can function as its convenor,” Justice Radhakrishnan, writing the order, said.

The convenor will oversee the committees and ensure that slaughterhouses adopt prescribed standards of legal sanction, hygiene and modern methods.

The bench said the retired judges would send reports to the apex court every three months on whether the norms were being followed.

“We are inclined to request the chief justices of various high courts to nominate a retired district judge for a period of two years as a convenor of the committee so as to enable him to send the quarterly reports to this (apex) court. The first report be sent within two months,” the bench said.

The court also fixed Rs 20,000 per month as honorarium to the retired district judge, to be paid by the state government. “The Union of India and various state governments have raised no objection in adopting such a course so that the committees could function efficiently and the framework prepared by the MoEF (Union ministry of environment and forests) could be given effect in letter and spirit,” the bench added.

Earlier in the hearing, the court said “action-taken reports” from states had indicated that, in many instances, slaughterhouses were running without licences. Even some of those that had one weren’t following rules, it said.