HC seeks reply to contempt plea on non-compliance of order on ban of birds slaughtering

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New Delhi, Jul 13 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought response of the Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board (DAMB) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) on a plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the authorities for their alleged wilful disobedience of the order banning slaughtering of birds at the Ghazipur murga mandi here.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said looking into the order passed by the high court on September 24, 2018, “we issue notice to the respondents”.

The court granted time to the counsel for DAMB, EDMC and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to get instructions on the issue and file their replies and listed the matter for further hearing on August 27.

In an interim order, the high court on September 24, 2018 said “taking note of the totality of the circumstances and the manner in which the statutory authorities, particularly the EDMC is acting, we have no option but to direct that in the area in question namely the Ghazipur murga mandi, no slaughtering of birds would be permitted henceforth.” The court had asked the authorities to come up with a plan to set up a designated slaughter house in the area after complying with statutory requirements and till then only sale of live birds can be done in the area.

The court has passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi alleging that poultry birds are being traded and slaughtered illegally at the Ghazipur mandi in east Delhi.

In a fresh petition, she has sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the authorities for their alleged wilful disobedience and violation of the 2018 order.

Advocate Arjun Dewan, appearing for Maulekhi, submitted that an inspection of the Ghazipur mandi was conducted on August 5, 2019 by the sub-committee constituted by the Delhi Slaughter house Monitoring Committee in compliance of an order passed by the Supreme Court.

Another inspection of the area was conducted by the committee on November 4, he said, adding that an inspection report was prepared in December last year highlighting that slaughtering of birds were going on in the Ghazipur murga mandi.

The plea said the report also highlighted that licences were issued by Delhi government’s DAMB to the shops in the poultry markets to sell poultry birds, however, almost all the shops were slaughtering poultry birds in gross violation of law, imposing threat to public health and safety.

It also said that DAMB runs and operates the premises where the mandi is situated and is responsible for the management of the market.

While passing the September 2018 order, the bench had noted that after conducting an inspection at the mandi on April 24, 2018, the DPCC had given its report highlighting the violations.

The DPCC had directed closure of the slaughter houses operating from the DAMB premises at the mandi. However, even after various months, slaughtering was still taking place there, the bench had noted.

The main petition by Maulekhi has contended that there was 'blatant violation' of mandatory health checks and veterinary screening of the birds which leads to spreading of infectious diseases such as avian flu.

The petition has also drawn attention to the conditions the birds are being kept in, saying they are 'tied up and hung upside down, de-feathered, stuffed in wire cages without sufficient food or water and slaughtered while alive'.

It has further claimed that waste generated as a result of the slaughter of the birds was not properly disposed of and was either flushed down the drain ending up in the rivers or dumped in open grounds.

It has sought directions to the authorities to 'forthwith stop the illegal slaughter of poultry birds at the Ghazipur Mandi' as well as form a committee for carrying out weekly inspections of the area.

The plea has also sought that the birds be examined by the authorities and veterinarians after they are transported to the mandi to ensure none of them are infected with any disease. PTI SKV SKV RKS RKS

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