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
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.