Kohima: Almost three years after Nagaland government ordered a ban on dog meat in the state, the Gauhati High Court Kohima Bench in its recent order quashed the notification issued by the state government.

The court’s verdict on Friday said that it is “constraint to set aside and quash the order dated 04.07.2020 issued by the state respondents banning the commercial import, trading of dogs and dog markets as well as commercial sale of dog meat in markets and dine in restaurants”.

The state government’s decision to ban commercial trade of dog meat in 2020 created a social uproar, particularly over Article 371(A) being overlooked, which gives the Naga tribes the right to practise and maintain their customary law and social practices.

It received mixed reactions as many applauded the move but others raised concerns.

The petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution for violation of the petitioners’ Fundamental Rights under Article 14, 19 & 21 of the Constitution and for violation of principles of natural justice. The petition was filed by three residents of Kohima challenging the state government’s order.

Nagaland government issued the order under the Food Safety Authority of India, Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011.

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Petitioners counsel, Iralu, had told the court that the petitioners have been dealing with supply and selling of dogs meat and have been earning their livelihood for the past many years, having valid permit from the Kohima Municipal Council. The counsel submitted before the court that it is the culture and custom of the Nagas to eat dog meat which has been mentioned in some to the earliest ethnographical and anthropological accounts of the Nagas.

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The court said that observations made in passing the order do not justify imposing a blanket ban on dog meat. “Instead remedial steps can be taken for enforcing the various provisions of law under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Indian Penal Code,” it said.

The court observed that prohibition of sale and consumption of dog meat, by the Executive branch of the Government, without there being any law passed by the legislation in relation to trade and consumption of dog meat is liable to be set aside even though the impugned notification is said to have been passed in accordance with a Cabinet decision.

The case was disposed on Friday by Justice Marli Vankung.

Also read: Dog meat ban in Nagaland: Boon or bane?

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