SC Rejects PIL Seeking Ban On Animal Sacrifice During Festivals

New Delhi, September 29: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with religious practice of animal sacrifice and could not stop the age old custom of sacrificing animals by different segments of society.

A public interest litigation petition filed by journalist Varaaki contended that "religion cannot be allowed to become a tool for perpetuating untold miseries on animals."

"This court has to balance (maintain) harmony in all faiths and religions. This is very very sensitive matter," a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy told senior advocate Raju Ramachandran.

"We can't be closing our eyes to centuries-old traditions followed by people. We can't examine such things," the bench added.

Appearing for Chennai-based journalist Varaaki, Ramachandran contended that the manner in which the animals were killed in temples, even by majority community, went against the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

He said trained butchers were required to carry out sacrifices as children watching such killings tend to develop contempt and violence for living organism.

Ramachandran said the petitioner wanted direction to reconcile with the provisions of the Act to avoid pain to the animals and clarified his plea has nothing to do with vegetarianism.

However, the court said: "If people feel if they don't appease Gods and Goddesses with animal sacrifice, what can be done?"Following the court's indication, the senior advocate opted to withdraw his plea with the choice to file a fresh petition in a pending civil appeal against the Himachal Pradesh decision banning animal sacrifice.

Claiming to be president of Indian Makkal Mandram, the petitioner wanted the apex court to declare Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as illegal and unconstitutional since it made exceptions for killing of animals during religious festivals.

He claimed that the act of subjecting animals to any sort of cruelty amounted to offence under the law.

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