MUMBAI: The government of Maharashtra has justified its decision to ban even the possession and consumption of meat of animals whose slaughter has been banned in the state and said this step is just a beginning.
It indicated that the government may ban slaughter of other animals too.
The division bench of Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice A.R. Joshi was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging a provision under Section 5 (d) of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act that bans possession and consumption of meat of animals like cows and bulls.
Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy appeared on behalf of petitioner and senior lawyer Harish Jagtiani, while advocate Firoz Bharucha and Pratap Nimbalkar were present in court on behalf of Arif Kapadia.
The contention of petitioners is that the ban on possession and consumption is a violation of fundamental rights of citizens granted under the Constitution of India.
It was argued that the petitioners respect the government decision and they do not have any problem with the ban on slaughter.
However, the government is crossing its limits by deciding what the people should consume.
On the other hand, advocate general Sunil Manohar argued that allowing consumption and possession of beef inside Maharashtra would cause problems in enforcing the ban on slaughter and hence it is necessary to ban even possession and consumption.
According to him, the ban is justified and the state has powers to enact such laws.
He even claimed it is morally inappropriate to use an animal for different purposes all of its life and slaughter it when it cannot be used for any work.
He added that the ban was imposed as per the Constitutional principles and to ensure prevention of cruelty to animals.
When the bench asked the AG if the decision is to prevent cruelty to animals, why had the state only banned the slaughter of bulls and bullocks.
AG Manohar replied that the government has started with cows and its progeny.
“A beginning has been made and the state might consider other animals too,” he said.
The court also suggested that the government have a licence policy by which import of meat of cattle slaughtered outside the state can be permitted.
Justice Kanade said that Section 5 (d) of the Act, which is under challenge, does not prohibit slaughter of cattle outside the state.
The bench directed the government to file its affidavit in reply to the petitions and posted the hearing on April 20. – From Asian Age