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IANS | Mumbai | April 29, 2015:: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday upheld the Maharashtra government’s decision to ban sale and consumption of beef in the state.
A division bench comprising Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice M.S. Sonak gave the verdict in a bunch of PIL’S (Public Interest Litigation) challenging the state government’s move to ban sale and consumption of beef, said one of the petitioners, Mutton Butchers Union Sarvashramik Sangh secretary Vijay Dalvi.
“We have opposed the ban as it affects not just the consumers, but also farmers, traders, the leather industry and many other stakeholders. We shall take out a rally in south Mumbai next week to highlight their plight,” Dalvi said.
Section 5D of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act that makes possession of beef imported from outside the state, therefore, remains.
The court however faulted the government for imposing an “over night ban” on possession of meat of bulls and bullocks even though it was lawful for over 30 years even after the state introduced a ban on cow slaughter in 1976.
The court also made it clear that the police will not invade the privacy of a citizen by entering their homes to find out if the meat in their house is beef. The court asked the state to file a detailed affidavit in four weeks and has scheduled the matter for hearing on June 25.
A bunch of petitions had challenged the legal validity of provisions of Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act that bans the slaughter of bulls and bullocks along with cows.
The petitioners, that include a senior advocate Haresh Jagtiani, Jogeshwari resident Arif Kapadia and a Hindu-Muslim-Christian coalition of 29 Mumbaikars, had sought an interim stay on section 5D of the MAPA Act.
This provision makes it a criminal and cognizable offence to possess beef, even if the animal is slaughtered outside Maharashtra where it is legally permissible, punishable with a jail term of up to one year.
The petitioners claimed that the ban violated the fundamental right to choice of food. The state government on the other hand contended that there was no fundamental right to eat beef and the right to choice of food could be restricted by a valid law.
Early March, after President Pranab Mukherjee granted assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, the state government banned sale or possession of beef with stringent penalties.
The slaughter of cows had already been prohibited in the state under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976. The new Act goes a step further by banning slaughter of bulls and bullocks, which was previously permitted on a fit-for-slaughter certificate.
Under the new act, only slaughter of water buffaloes, which yields Carabeef, considered an inferior quality meat, has been allowed.
Courtesy: IANS and links used above.