The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has set aside the 2020 Nagaland Government order banning commercial import and trading and sale of dog meat in markets and dine-in restaurants.
On July 4, 2020, the Nagaland Government through its Chief Secretary had banned the sale, trade and import of dog meat after a photograph of incapacitated dogs tied to gunny bags went viral on social media.
However, the High Court in a recent order said the state or its executive officers cannot interfere with the rights of others unless they can point to some specific rule of law which authorises their acts.
The judgment was passed by Justice Marli Vankung after hearing a petition by three persons - Neizevolie Kuotsu, Abei Zatsu and Ketounyuu.
The petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution for issuance of the appropriate writ for violation of the petitioners’ Fundamental Rights and for violation of principles of natural justice, it said.
“The petitioners have an Import/Export permit, dated 03.06.2020, issued by the Kohima Municipal Council, which allows the petitioner to import dogs to Kohima and have been earning their livelihood by selling dog meat for the past many years,” the high court said.
“The counsel for the petitioners submitted that Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011, has not expressly or impliedly prohibited slaughter of any specific animals. Likewise, the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, has also not prohibited the slaughter of animals not mentioned in the regulation,” it said.
However, the regulation has been wrongly interpreted by the Food Safety Authority of India and the state respondents, therefore the impugned notification dated February 4, 2020 is not in consonance with the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
After hearing the counsels, the court said it was constraint to set aside and quash the July 4, 2020 order issued by the state.
Meanwhile, Nagaland Chief Secretary J. Alam said the state is yet to receive the official court order and that further decisions would be taken after going through the judgment.
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