The Centre’s new notification on cattle trade, which the Supreme Court stayed on Tuesday, will not stand judicial scrutiny as it is ultra vires, former Lok Sabha Secretary General and constitutional expert PDT Achary said here on Wednesday.

As the prohibition of cow slaughter is outside the purview of the Union List, the NDA government tried to smuggle it in as a part of another Act, the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (PCA) Act 1960, Achary said participating on a panel discussion on new cattle trade rules at the Indian Women’s Press Corps in New Delhi.

The Centre has no authority to make a legislation or even subordinate legislation on the prohibition of cow slaughter as it is included as Directive Principle of State Policy. That is for the states to do, he said.

“Even that is a travesty as killing animals for food is not prohibited under the PCA Act,” he said. Restricting cattle trade will seriously impact farmers as it would adversely hit their income generation, said Vikas Rawal, Professor of Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The contribution of animal husbandry in the growth of India agriculture has been significant in the recent years. This kind of restriction will only discourage farmers from rearing cattle, Rawal said.

NK Shukla, national joint secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, said there are at least three rules in the notification that are particularly anti-farmer. Both seller and buyer of the cattle have been forced to give an undertaking that it was not sold or bought for slaughter. More regressive is the section that bars a farmer, who bought a cattle, from selling it in the next six months. “What authority does the government have to decide when should a farmer sell his cattle,” asked Shukla.