After the Nagaland government failed to file a reply on time, the Gauhati High Court has stayed the July order banning the import, trade and sale of dog meat in the State (Neizevolie Kuotsu Alias Toni Kuotsu and ors v. State of Nagaland and ors.)
The Court was dealing with petitions moved by traders of dog meat in Kohima challenging the State government’s order on import and sale of dog meat.
On September 14, the Court had called for an affidavit in opposition from the relevant authorities. However, last Wednesday, Justice S Hukato Swu was informed by the government advocate that no response has been made yet so far by the State.
After considering the submissions made for the petitioners, the Court opined that the July 4, 2020 order banning the import, trade and sale of dog meat may be stayed until the next date of hearing.
Under the facts and circumstances placed before this Court, I am of the view that the impugned order dated 04.07.2020 may be stayed until the next returnable date and accordingly order so.
Gauhati High Court
The State was directed to make all efforts to file its reply before the next date of hearing. The matter has been listed to be taken up after the winter vacation.
Appearing for the petitioners, Advocate L Iralu had contended that:
- The dog meat ban was issued by the State’s Chief Secretary, who is not statutorily empowered to pass such orders. The Food Safety Standards Act, 2006confers this authority on the Commissioner of Food Safety. Therefore, the notification dated July 4 banning the commercial import and trade of dog meat and the commercial sale of dog meat in markets and dining in restaurants is illegal.
- There are procedural steps which have to be followed prior to the issuance of such a ban under theFood Safety Standards Act, including the determination of whether the food in question is fit for consumption. Notice is to be given to the party to be affected by orders prior to a ban. All these procedural steps have been violated
- The executive order passed under Article 162 of the Constitution cannot stand the test of law if it violates Articles 14, 19 and 21. Orders must have statutory backing.
Terming the July 4 ban as basically an executive order passed in the garb of a Cabinet decision, the petitioners challenged the same as being devoid of legislative backing and illegal.
Advocate Iralu added that the livelihood of the petitioners has been adversely affected owing to the ban, coupled with the prevailing pandemic situation.
As such, the petitioners urged the Court to stay the challenged order until the disposal of their writ petition.