Supreme Court Stays GoI Rule on Live­stock Trade

Or­der a boost to meat pro­duc­tion in­dus­try; slaugh­ter not cru­elty, says CJI SC No­tice to Ma­ha­rash­tra on Seizure Plea

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Supreme Court stayed the Cen­tre’s new rule on live­stock trade that re­stricted slaugh­ter. The court also ob­served that slaugh­ter is not cru­elty. Why can’t a per­son slaugh­ter an an­i­mal and eat it, the court ob­served dur­ing the hear­ing on live­stock rules.

The stay will come as a boost for the live­stock in­dus­try, which had op­posed the rule say­ing it would af­fect the meat pro­duc­tion in­dus­try and liveli­hoods. The Madu­rai bench of the Madras High Court had ear­lier stayed cer­tain por­tions of the rule, in­clud­ing the re­quire­ment that those trad­ing in an­i­mal mar­kets should give an un­der­tak­ing that the an­i­mal would not be slaugh­tered.

The apex court, while stay­ing the whole rule, cited other clauses. For ex­am­ple, one clause barred a pur­chaser from sell­ing the an­i­mal within six months. The Supreme Court on Fri­day for­mally sought the views of beef traders and ‘right to choose food’ ac­tivists on a Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment plea to re­vive cer­tain pro­vi­sions in a law that al­lowed po­lice to en­ter and search any premises for beef. The Ma­ha­rash­tra law in 2015 had banned the slaugh­ter of cows, bulls and bul­locks and made pos­ses­sion of such meat a non-bail­able of­fence pun­ish­able with a jail term of a year. Last year, the Bom­bay High Court up­held the Act, but struck down the search and seizure pro­vi­sions on the ground of pri­vacy.

Dug­gal added that the de­cline of this busi­ness would be com­pen­sated by higher sales in the reg­u­lar re­tailer chan­nels. Lug­gage maker Sam­sonite said it ex­pected a dip in sales in the short term but sales would nor­malise within a year.

“This is be­cause our cat­e­gory is a need based pur­chase and our brands have high loy­alty. We ex­pect our CSD cus­tomers to pur­chase our prod­ucts at other sales lo­ca­tions,” said Sam­sonite di­rec­tor Anushree Tain­wala, echo­ing Dug­gal. Sam­sonite has about 180 ex­ec­u­tives ded­i­cated to the CSD chan­nel.

But for the hun­dreds and thou­sands of CSD cus­tomers, im­po­si­tion of a cap would make them shell out more money if they have to buy from re­tail out­lets out­side. CSD gen­eral man­ager M Bal­a­ditya said he wasn’t aware of any move to im­pose a new cap on pur­chase of prod­ucts.

“As it stands, there is no cap for FMCG prod­ucts ex­cept the Rs10,000 per month per card holder limit that has been there for sev­eral years,” he said.

LIM­ITS IN PLACE

Ac­cord­ing to some CSD card hold­ers who didn’t want to be named, some stores do im­pose monthly lim­its on some prod­uct cat­e­gories —18 bars of soap, 36 packs of bis­cuits or10 kg of rice. Liquor limit is pegged at five to 15 bot­tles per month de­pend­ing on the rank. For beer drinkers, one can get four bot­tles of beer for ev­ery one bot­tle of spir­its.

The plan is to raise lim­its sub­stan­tially in gro­cery and some other prod­uct cat­e­gories such as lug­gage, said con­sumer goods in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives. Liquor (26%) and daily con­sump­tion gro­cery prod­ucts (23%) ac­count for nearly half of CSD’s sales, while automobiles and white goods con­trib­ute a fifth of the to­tal ₹ 17,000 crore sales in FY17.

Hin­dus­tan Unilever Ltd (HUL) is the big­gest sup­plier to the CSD chan­nel, which acco- unts for close to 7% of its an­nual sales. HUL de­clined to com­ment on the de­vel­op­ment. The maker of Surf de­ter­gent and Dove sham­poo had said in its earn­ings an­nounce­ment that de­stock­ing by the CSD chan­nel on ac­count of GST saw vol­umes drop 2% in the June quar­ter. FMCG com­pa­nies such as Go­drej Con­sumer Prod­ucts and bis­cuit firm Bri­tan­nia said they do not have a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence in CSD.

“While this move could lead to some re­duc­tion in over­all CSD pur­chases, the end con­sumer de­mand will in any case get ful­filled by other chan­nels. For us, CSD con­trib­utes to less than 3% of our rev­enues. So, the salience of this chan­nel is rel­a­tively lower for us,” said Go­drej Con­sumer Prod­ucts MD Vivek Gamb­hir.

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