A damning report by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) convinced the high court on Monday to ban slaughtering of birds at Ghazipur chicken market (Murga Mandi).
In an interim order, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao made it clear that only sale of live birds would be permitted. “Taking note of the circumstances and inaction of the authorities, we have no option but to direct that no slaughtering of birds will be permitted at the Ghazipur murga mandi,” the court said, asking the authorities to file the compliance report within a week.
The interim order came while hearing a PIL alleging that poultry birds were being traded and slaughtered illegally at the market for fish, poultry and egg, spread over 30 acres in east Delhi’s Ghazipur.
It also noted that April 24 inspection of the mandi by DPCC had thrown up a dismal picture, where the pollution watchdog highlighted the violations and directed closure of the slaughterhouses operating from inside the government’s Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board (DAMB) premises at the mandi.
But the court noted that even after five months, the slaughter of birds continued. It rejected the objections raised by the traders, who argued that a ban would affect their livelihood. HC underlined that it cannot permit anything which is contrary to law, more so when it is affecting the environment. “Let the traders deal with the statutory authorities. We are concerned with the larger issue of pollution,” the bench remarked.
Last month, HC had directed DAMB to shut down all the poultry slaughter houses running at Ghazipur mandi without DPCC’s approval.
HC’s directions came after animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi alleged there was “blatant violation” of mandatory health checks and veterinary screening of the birds, which leads to spreading of infectious diseases. It also sought directions to the authorities to “forthwith stop the illegal slaughter of poultry birds” as well as form a committee for carrying out weekly inspections.