Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Tuesday granted a four-week stay on Central government notification to put a nationwide ban on cattle slaughter.

The High Court has further asked the state and Centre government to reply within four weeks over the ‘controversial’ cattle slaughter ban.

The development comes a week after Union environment ministry in Narendra Modi government on May 26 released a new law that bans sale and purchase of cattle for the purpose of slaughter or religious sacrifice.

As per the new law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 aims to ensure that the sale of cattle is not meant for slaughter purposes.

The list of animals that cannot be bought or sold for slaughter through cattle markets includes cows, bulls, buffaloes, heifers, calves and camels.

The central government has drawn flak across the nation with various states — Kerala, West Bengal — raising concerns of the Centre govt hijacking the overruling state authority’s power over the matter of cattle.

Slamming the government’s move, Mamata Banerjee on Monday called the rule ‘unconstitutional,’ asserting that West Bengal government will not adhere to the present law in its form.

Following the ban, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressing his apprehension earlier wrote to PM Modi saying that the restrictions will hold against the essence of democracy in the country.

“In my own state of Kerala, a vast majority of the population consume meat. So is the case with all the other South Indian states and North East Indian states. Even in states like Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal, non vegetarians out number vegetarians. Therefore, the new rules should have been introduced in consultation with the states,” reads the letter.