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General Studies 1 >> Art& Culture

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1. Context

Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government has issued a statewide ban on products bearing halal certificates, effective immediately. This decision follows an FIR filed at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station, where the complainant alleged that certain companies were exploiting the halal certification to boost sales within a specific community, thereby playing with public faith.

2. What does Halal mean?

  •  Halal, an Arabic term meaning 'permissible,' is contrasted with haram ('forbidden') in the Quran, denoting categories of lawful and unlawful actions.
  • Primarily associated with Islamic dietary laws, it ensures that food is sourced, processed, and traded in adherence to Islamic beliefs.
  • Comparable to the Jewish kashrut rules, which dictate 'kosher' food, halal guidelines focus on specific requirements, with pork and intoxicants being the most commonly considered non-halal items.
3. When is meat halal? 
  • In the Indian context, halal is predominantly associated with the Muslim slaughtering technique, involving a precise cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery, and windpipe.
  • The animal must be alive and healthy during the process, with all blood drained from the carcass.
  • This method contrasts with the 'jhatka' approach favoured by many Hindus and Sikhs, which includes stunning animals before slaughter, a practice not permitted in Islam.
  • The labelling of meat shops as 'halal' or 'jhatka' reflects religious ownership and preference.
4. Can non-meat products also be halal? 
  • Contrary to popular belief, halal is not exclusive to meat; it signifies 'permissible' in Islamic law, extending beyond dietary choices.
  • Vegetarian food, fish, and shellfish are generally considered halal unless they contain alcohol.
  • The concept also applies to non-food items like medicines, personal care products, packaging materials, and animal feed, emphasizing adherence to Islamic law in their production.

5. What are halal certificates? Who issues them? 

  • In India, halal certificates are issued by private organizations that are accredited by the countries that import the products.
  • There is no government regulation in this area.
  • The commerce ministry has issued draft guidelines saying that the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority would be designated as the overall monitoring agency for this purpose.
  • The major halal-certifying organizations in the country include Halal India Pvt Ltd and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust.
  • The International Halal Accreditation Forum is an international network of accreditation bodies mandated to enforce halal standards in their economies.
  • Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, the UAE, and Pakistan have their own halal standards.

6. Why has the UP government banned halal-certified products?

The UP government has banned halal-certified products because it says that halal certification of vegetarian products like oil, soap, toothpaste, and honey is a deliberate criminal conspiracy targeting a specific community and its products. The ban is in the interest of public health and to prevent confusion. The ban exempts products meant for export.
  • The UP government order said that halal certification of food products is a parallel system which creates confusion regarding the quality of food items is completely against the basic intention of the said Act and is not tenable under Section 89 of the said Act.
  • The government said it recently received information which indicated that products such as dairy items, sugar, bakery products, peppermint oil, salty ready-to-eat beverages, and edible oils are being labelled with a halal certification.
  • The government said that there are no provisions for marking halal certification on labels in the government rules related to drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics, nor is there any mention of halal certification in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, of 1940, and its related rules.
  • Any direct or indirect mention of halal certification on the labels of medicines, medical devices, or cosmetics constitutes falsification under the said Act, making it a punishable offence.

6. Conclusion

The recent ban on halal-certified products in Uttar Pradesh reflects concerns about the potential misuse of religious certifications for commercial gains. Understanding the nuances of halal, its application beyond meat, and the certification process is crucial for addressing such issues and ensuring clarity for consumers and businesses alike.

For Prelims: Halal, Quran, Islamic dietary laws, 'jhatka' approach, Animal slaughter, 
For Mains: 
1. Analyze the concerns regarding the potential misuse of religious certifications for commercial gains. (250 Words) 
2. Examine the ethical considerations surrounding animal slaughter, considering both religious and secular perspectives. How do different communities balance their religious beliefs with concerns for animal welfare?  (250 Words) 
Previous Year Questions
1. Prophet Muhammad founded the faith of Islam in the ______ century. (SSC CGL 2021)
A. Sixth        B. Seventh           C. Ninth           D. Eighth
Answer: B
2. Which one of the following statements about the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is not correct? (CDS GK 2019) 
A. Its permanent Secretariat is located at Jeddah.
B. It endeavour's to safeguard and protect interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
C. It is the largest inter-governmental organization of the world
D. It has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN.
Answer: C
3. With reference to Indian laws about wildlife protection, consider the following statements:  (UPSC 2022)
1. Wild animals are the sole property of the government.
2. When a wild animal is declared protected, such animal is entitled for equal protection whether it is found in protected areas or outside.
3. Apprehension of a protected wild animal becoming a danger to human life is sufficient ground for its capture or killing.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 and 2         B.  2 only          C. 1 and 3           D. 3 only
Answer: A
Source: The Indian Express

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