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Jammu and Kashmir High Court imposes cost of Rs 5,000 on govt official for not appearing in court

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The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has imposed a cost of Rs 5000 on the Commissioner/Secretary of the Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department.

The division bench of Chief Justice (Acting) Rajesh Bindal and Justice Sanjay Dhar was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by NGO Save Animal Value Environment, seeking the closure of unregistered slaughterhouses and meat shops in the state. 

In this case, the bench had on November 19 directed the commissioner to appear in-person before the Court on Tuesday, but he did not appear. Therefore, the High Court has imposed the fine on him. 

Senior Additional Advocate General S.S. Nanda clarified in favour of departmental officer. He said that according to the status report, the Animal Husbandry Department has nothing to do with the slaughterhouse.  Therefore, the Commissioner Secretary of the Department should be exempted from appearing.

The Court bench found that only the status report has been submitted by the Director of the Department in this case. No separate application has been filed on behalf of the Commissioner Secretary. This indicates negligence against the court order. 

Joint Commissioner of Jammu Municipal Corporation was present in person in Court, who stated that approval for allotment of tender for construction of the slaughterhouse has been received from the competent authority. The work shall be allotted to the successful bidder within two weeks. The target will be to complete the construction in 12 months.  

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At the same time, in the case of Srinagar, SS Nanda said the slaughterhouse in Srinagar is going on, but due to the coronavirus epidemic, work has slowed down a bit. He said that he would present the latest status report during the next hearing.

The Court has fixed the matter for further hearing on February 25, 2021.

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