Buffalo Traders Welfare Assn. & Anr Vs.
Maneka Gandhi & Ors  INSC 1536 (30 November 1996)
Singh, B.L. Hansaria
30TH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 1996 Present:
Mr. Justice Kuldip Singh Hon'ble Mr. Justice B.L. Hansaria S.K. Dhokakia, R.F. Nariman,
Dr. A.M. Singhvi, Arun Jetly, Sr. Advs., Amit Dhingra, Shakil Ahmad Syed, P.H. Parekh,
K.C. Dua, M.M. Isreily, M.C. Uddin, T.Qureshi, A.R. Khan, S.P. Jha, Ms. Sheil Sethi,
(M.C. Mehta), Adv. (NP), Hardeep Singh, B.S. Banthia, R.C. Asthana, R.K. Maheshwari
Ashok K. Srivastava, Sushil Kumar Jain, Advs. with them for the appearing
O R D
following Order of the Court was delivered:
O R D
two applications relate to Idgah Slaughter House, Delhi. The common prayer in both of them
is to hold that the order dated July 8, 1996 passed in IA No.22 connected with Wp
(C) No.4677 of 1985 does not have the effect of modifying and/or setting aside
the order dated 19.2.1996 passed in the connected Civil Appeals, by which interim
order of status quo was passed, while granting special leave. As the order of
status quo is in conflict with the order passed in the writ petition, a
clarification has also been sought that notwithstanding the later order, the
order of status quo would continue to remain in operation.
order in the writ petition relates not only to Idgah Slaughter House, but to
168 industries, of which the Slaughter House is one. By that order it was held
that all the 168 named industries are "hazardous/noxious" and,
therefore, a direction was given that these industries shall stop functioning
and operating in the city of Delhi with effect from November 30, 1996. Direction
No. (8) stated that the closure order shall be unconditional by adding that
"(e) ven if the re-location of industries is not complete they shall stop
functioning in Delhi with effect from November 30, 1996.
the aforesaid order is relatable to 168 industries, it has to be seen whether
any exception can be made insofar as the Slaughter House is concerned to permit
it to operate and function beyond November 30, 1996. It is worth pointing out
that when the Inter Locutory Application in the Writ Petition was being heard,
nobody had appeared on behalf of the Slaughter House, despite ample opportunities
having been given. this apart, perusal of the order dated July 8, 1996 shows
that that had come to be passed after this court was satisfied beyond doubt
regarding the bazardous nature of the Slaughter House, because of what was
found by Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and
a Special Committee Constituted by this Court.
Further, insofar as the Slaughter House is concerned, a Division Bench of Delhi
High Court had, as early as 1.10.1992 by its judgment in CW Nos. 2267/90,
158/91 and 130/92, directed, inter alia, that the Slaughter House shall be
closed with effect from December 31, 1993 or from any earlier date which may be
fixed by the Court keeping in view the facts and circumstances which may arise
before that date. The Delhi High Court came to be seized with another petition
on the same subject filed by Maneka Gandhi, who had initially approached this
Court by making a grievance regarding the "unhgienic, inhuman and horrible
conditions prevalent at Idgah Slaughter House of Delhi." This Court
directed the High Court to dispose of the petition. By judgment dated 27th
January, 1995 in Civil Writ No.2961/92 another Division Bench, inter alia,
ordered for closure of Slaughter House on or before 31.12.1995. The aforesaid
two appeals have challenged the later judgment of Delhi High Court in which,
while granting special leave, status guo order reading as below was passed:-
"Our attention is drawn to the minutes of the meeting dated 14.2.1996
which state that the consensus between the authorities and parties concerned
was that there was no place available in or around Delhi to which the slaughter
house could be shifted. Having regard to this unambiguous statement the matters
shall have to be fully heard.
leave granted. The appeals re expedited. Liberty is given to the parties to
move the Hon'ble the Chief Justice for the purposes of early hearing. In the
meantime, status-quo shall be maintained."
perusal of the status quo order leaves nothing to doubt that it is founded on
the consensus regarding no place being available in or around Delhi to which
Slaughter House could be shifted. This consensus is reflected in minutes of the
meeting dated 14.2.1996. We have perused the same. It shows that in the meeting
35 persons were present and the participants showed their concern about
"illegal slaughtering in different localities" but because of non-
availability of alternative place, modernisation of the Slaughter House was
agreed to. Now, insofar as availability of some other place in and around Delhi
is concerned, because of the sustained efforts made by this Court from 16th
September onwards, an area of about 55 acres has been made available and
possession of the same has also since been reportebly delivered. Thus, the
basis of passing the status-quo order no longer exists.
Dholakia and Nariman, learned senior counsel appearing for the applicants have
nonetheless contended that to take care of the difficulty which the consumers
would face if the slaughter house would be closed as directed, it should be
permitted to function at least upto the period when alternative arrangement for
slaughtering is made at the new site. Shri Nariman read out to us the order
passed by this Court on May 18, 1994 in SLP(C) No. 7790-91 of 1994 in which
questions were raised as to what would happen when thousands of workers would
be thrown on the streets jobless and how the meat requirements of a large city
would be met? It was submitted by Shri Dholakia that if the Slaughter House
would be closed, unhygienic meat would be supplied to the consumers which would
be more hazardous.
Insofar as the workers are concerned, it may be pointed out that due attention
has been paid, inter alia, to their continuity of service and payment with full
wages till the closure and restarting of all the industries, as would appear
from direction (9) as contained in the order of July 8, 1996, relevant part of
which reads as below:-
The workmen employed in the abovementioned 168 industries shall be entitled to
the rights and benefits as directed hereunder:-
The workmen shall have continuity of employment at the new town and place where
the industry is shifted. The terms and conditions of their employment shall not
be altered to their detriment:
The period between the closure of the industry in Delhi and its restart at the
place of re-location shall be treated as active employment and the workmen
shall be paid their full wages with continuity of service.
regards the consumers, we are of the view that they would not face much of the
problem. It has been stated in para 119 of the impugned judgment that hygenic
and fresh meat in adequate quantity can be brought from the nearby slaughter
houses as purely temporary measure. As the cattle which are slaughtered are
brought from outside, according to us, there should be no difficulty in
bringing the meat, instead of the animals themselves.
to the argument that closure of the slaughter houses should see unhygienic meat
in the market, we should like to observe that this apprehension does not see
justified because there are licensed slaughter houses near Delhi. It is worth
pointing out that when the Idgah Slaughter House had remained closed for nearly
three months in 1994, because of the strike by butchers, there is nothing on
record to show that the consumers had to remain satisfied by eating unhygienic
meat. The availability of the meat also did not get adversely affected.
the aforesaid premises, though the interlocutory applications are liable to be
dismissed, but the consideration which is weighing with us in not dismissing
the same altogether is the interest of large number of consumers in the
territory of Delhi. This is the only industry of its type in the territory.
There being no other slaughter house near at hand to cater the needs of the
residents of Delhi some hardship is likely to be caused to the meateaters. At
the same time the interest of environment and ecology cannot be ignored. It
cannot be disputed that the slaughter house is being run under highly polluted
environment. With a view to keep balance between the need of the people of
Delhi and the environment, we direct as under:
permit the Idgah Slaughter House to function till June 30, 1997 on the
Goats/he goats/sheep numbering 2000 per day shall be permitted to be
slaughtered in the premises, no other animals shall be slaughtered.
Buffaloes (any sex), cows, bulls (i.e. large animals) shall not be permitted to
be slaughtered as their slaughter generates more pollution. The Buffalo section
is the most polluted section in the slaughter house, We reiterate that except
2000 (Two thousand only) goats/he goats/sheep no other animals to be
slaughtered in the premises. The buffalo section of the slaughter house shall
be closed with immediate effect.
The slaughter house shall be kept environmentally clean by the MCD.
The Central Pollution Control Board shall visit the slaughter house every two
months till June 30, 1997 and file report in this Court indicating the
environmental status of the premises.
The animal market shall not be permitted to function near the slaughter house.
Holding the animals market in the crowded part of the city is environmentally
hazardous and cannot be permitted.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police of the area shall stop the holding of the
market in the vicinity of the slaughter house. The meat sellers/butchers may
bring the animals to the slaughter house in an environmentally clear manner and
take the meat back in similar way. No market should be permitted in the area.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi shall stop all illegal slaughtering in Quasebpura
area near Idgah or any other part of Delhi. The Commissioner, Municipal
Corporation, Delhi shall take necessary steps to stop the illegal slaughtering
in all parts of Delhi. If necessary police help be taken in this respect.
make it clear that heavy pollution fine shall be imposed by this Court on
polluters indulging in illegal slaughtering. Even the MCD shall be liable to
pollution fine if the slaughter house is not kept environmentally clean.
staff in charge of the slaughter house may personally be liable to pay the
Municipal Corporation of Delhi shall take steps on war- footing to construct
the modern slaughter house on the alternative land already acquired by the
Corporation. We make it clear that the Idgah Slaughter house would not be
permitted to continue at the present site beyond June 30, 1997.
I.A.S are disposed of accordingly.