Maharashtra government’s beef ban has been upheld by Bombay High Court

Maharashtra government had earlier banned beef in the state and an appeal to stay the provision of the said law was made before the High Courtof Bombay,which court declined, but it has asked that for next three months Maharashtra government should not take forceful actions for its control. Justice MS Sonak and Justice VM Kanade who heard the matter said at this stage a law cannot be stayed as the presumptions is that it is legally valid.

Under Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, that was enforced last month by the state, owning of beef traded from outside Maharashtra remains under Section 5D. The Bench held the government was at fault for imposing the ban on owning of bullocks and bulls meat which was lawful for nearly 30 years, although cow slaughter ban was introduced by state in 1976. It further held that police cannot enter people’s home and invade their privacy just to know if they are eating the meat of bull or bullocks. A detailed affidavit has been asked by the court to the state the same and it must be before four weeks and further the matter is scheduled for hearing on 25 June 2015.

There were three petitions which were filed challenging this section of the said act. These petitions were filed by people who challenged the legality of the sections in Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act which states that slaughtering of bulls, bullocks and cows are banned. Haresh Jagtiani who is a Senior advocate, Jogeshwari and some Hindu-Muslim-Christian coalition consisting of nearly 29 Mumbaikars, had asked for a stay on section 5D of the said Act. To possess beef under the provisions is a criminal and cognisable offence even though the animal is butchered outside the boundary of Maharashtra and the punishment for such an offence is one year jail term. This ban violates the basic fundamental right to select the food to eat was the contention of the petitioners in their petition.  Maharashtra government represented by Advocate General Sunil Manohar, opposed that there was no essential right to eat beef and food to be chosen can also be constrained by law. He further said that Animal Protection Act also prohibits consumption of wild boar, deer and other animals too.

by Sushma Javare.