New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with the religious practice of sacrificing animals to please gods and goddesses across the country on the plea that it amounted to cruelty to animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Declining to entertain the PIL by Varaaki, a Chennai-based journalist, a bench of Chief Justice H.LK.Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy said that how could it pass an order to prevent animal sacrifice when as a religious practice, it has the sanction of law.
The court said this as senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, appearing for Varaaki, told the court that when animals are slaughtered at slaughter houses, it is governed by rules and regulations and animals are slaughtered by trained people.
Ramachandran told the court that during religious practices, the animals are killed by untrained people causing unnecessary cruelty to them. He said that at times, animals are sacrificed during religious ceremonies in the presence of children.
However, Chief Justice Dattu noted that "The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act itself gives that right (of animal sacrifice as religious practice). Villagers will say that it is our religious practice for centuries to please gods and goddesses by such animal sacrifices".
The court said that it had to "harmonize all faiths and religions". "These are very very sensitive matters. We can't be blind to centuries-old traditions being followed," it said.
Allowing the PIL to be withdrawn, the court allowed Ramachandran to implead the petitioner as a party in the matter where the apex court is hearing a challenge to Himachal High Court order banning animal sacrifice as a religious practice.