New Delhi: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday called for a "fine balance" between people's right to eat food of their choice, including beef, and sentiments of those who revere cow and work for cattle's preservation.
"We (government) don't want to control anybody's food habit but it is also a reality that a large section of population in India reveres cow...so a fine balance has to be struck between the two," said Prasad.
He also underlined that even a constitutional provision talked about preservation of cows. Article 48 in the Constitution asks Governments "to endeavou...to take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and the other milch and drought cattle". This forms part of the chapter on the Directive Principles of State Policy.
Addressing media on completion of three years of Narendra Modi government, law minister said that the new cattle rules have sought to put a regulatory regime in place for the cattle market and that it was being misinterpreted to accuse the government of trying to control people's food habits.
Prasad, on a question about refusal of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for an extension as the top law officer, said that his request has been taken note of and that the government at the "highest level" will decide the future course of action.
But he declined to comment why senior advocate Harish Salve and not AG Rohatgi was sent to represent India at the International Court of Justice during hearing in Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
"I will not comment on specific names and personal issues... PMO and other ministries were involved in the decision making. Effort was to keep Indian flag flying high. Harish Salve did a good job," responded Prasad.
On issues of judicial propriety and objectivity in appointments of judges, the minister said a more stringent scrutiny is required before appointing judges.
Asked about Justice C S Karnan who has been in the hiding since May 9 when he was sentenced to six months in jail by the Supreme Court in a contempt case, Prasad said this case highlighted the need of proper judicial scrutiny before appointing a person as a judge of a constitutional court.
He called memorandum of procedure, which is to guide future appointment of judges in Supreme Court and high courts as a "work-in-progress" but made it clear that the judiciary must address issues of in-house corruption and complaints on its own and there will be no interference by the executive.
Prasad said he will appeal to chief justices of all high courts to fast-track all cases which are more than 10 years old.
Referring to crores of pending cases, the minister said he will also urge the chief justices to have files of pending cases physically verified since the number may not be correct.
Prasad was accompanied by P P Chaudhary, minister of state, law and justice, and secretaries of all three departments in the Ministry.ALSO READ: Full of Cow Experts, Animal Welfare Board Wants Sanctuaries For 'Gau Mata'