New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to ensure that cattle, exported from India to Nepal for sacrifice at Gadhimai festival in that country, are not tortured and starved on their way.
A bench headed by Justice JS Khehar directed Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to sit with the counsels of Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, from where the cattle are sent, and formulate recommendations which court be passed by it to prevent torture of the animals.
The court passed the order on a PIL alleging that a large number of cattle are exported illegally to Nepal for Gadhimai festival, which is held once in five years and is scheduled for November 28 and 29 this year.
The SG informed the bench that only those people having licence can be allowed to export cattle and order has been passed by the government to stop illegal "infiltration" of animals in the neighbouring country.
He, however, said that government cannot do anything about the cattle being sacrificed in Nepal.
The bench also said that it cannot pass any order regarding treatment of animals in the neighboring state but said that it would pass direction to prevent torture of animals while they are being taken to Nepal.
It asked the Centre to file a comprehensive affidavit and posted the case for hearing on November 21.
The petitioner alleged that 5,00,000 animals are slaughtered over two days in the festival and over 70 per cent of the animals sacrificed there are brought illegally from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
"The unregulated movement of cattle across the Indo-Nepal border contravenes the Export and Import Policy of India and violates the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.
"A vast number of buffaloes brought for the festival come from Bihar in contravention of Section 4A Bihar Preservation and Improvement of Animals Act, 1955 which prohibits export of cattle from the state," the petition said.