Supreme Court in agreement with CA on animal sacrifice

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Supreme Court yesterday affirmed the recent Court of Appeal Judgment in relation to the sacrifice of animals at the Sri Badrakali Amman Kovil, Munneswaram.

It upheld the Court of Appeal decision which emphasised that religious freedom did not go above the law of the land. Religious functions were subject to the law of the land.

The Supreme Court also agreed with the Court of Appeal that animals could not be slaughtered anywhere without a licence under the Butcher’s Ordinance.

The Supreme Court also said that as the Court of Appeal had decided recently that if it caused cruelty to animals and if there was a breach of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, the police had the power to insist that the animals be slaughtered with a valid licence under the Butcher’s Ordinance.

The Supreme Court affirmed the court of Appeal finding which said that the killing of animals and the turning of the carcasses into meat came within the meaning of the word ‘trade’. The person who traded meat should possess a valid licence under the Butcher’s ordinance.

In this case, animal rights activists and Bhikkhus requested the Court of Appeal to issue a mandatory order on the IGP to prohibit the unauthorised slaughter of fowls and goats at the Sri Badrakali Amman Kovil at Munneswaram, Chilaw.

The Court of Appeal issued a mandatory order on the DIG of NWP range, to prohibit unlawful killing of animals at the religious festival of the Kovil.

The petitioners cited as respondents the Poosaris of the Kovil, who appealed to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal decision.

Counsel, Raja Dep appeared for the Bhikkhu Balawegaye, which had petitioned the Court of Appeal and been cited as respondents in the appeal in the Supreme Court. Manohara de Silva PC appeared for the animal rights activists who had also petitioned the Court of Appeal. The Deputy Solicitor General Parinda Ranasinghe appeared for the Attorney General.

The Supreme Court Bench comprised the Chief Justice Mohan Pieris, Justice Rohini Marasinghe and Justice Sarath de Abrew.

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