Written by Aamir Khan | Mumbai | Updated: April 24, 2015 10:40 am
A situation may arise where people’s houses are raided and citizens harassed as it will be difficult to distinguish if it was the meat of buffalo or a bull or bullock being eaten, this was the argument finally put forth in a case where the Bombay High Court is dealing with a question of whether or not possession of beef from outside the state should be permitted.
Petitioners have challenged Section 5 D of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995. The provision restricts people from bringing beef from outside the state and consuming it. Under the new law, sale or possession of beef can lead to a five-year jail term and a fine of Rs 10,000.The petitioners also argued on Thursday that the police would enter restaurants and harass citizens.
Eating Beef Not Fundamental Right, Maharashtra Government Tells High Court
Right after the interveners concluded their arguments, the petitioners had one last say in the case. It was then, in a jam-packed courtroom, that senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, Mihir Desai and Firoz Bharucha made their final arguments, attempting to counter-argue all the points raised by the state and other contesting parties.
“In the privacy of your home, these kinds of intrusion can be expected. Even when you are in a restaurant having buffalo meat, policeman can come and ask what you are eating,” said Chinoy Similarly when a citizen is at home consuming buffalo meat, there was a possibility that he or she could land in trouble, he said drawing a parallel. He resorted to questioning the state if they would appoint an expert to differentiate the two types of meat — buffalo and beef (cow progeny).
The ban on cow slaughter was enforced two decades ago, but there was no restriction on slaughter and consumption of cow progeny until now, said Chinoy. Reasoning out with the state government, he said why did it not ever say that the ban on cow slaughter was affected because sale of consumption of flesh of bulls and bullocks was allowed.
“Ban on cow slaughter coexisted with the slaughter of bulls and bullocks. Why did not anyone say it was difficult to police the ban?” asked Chinoy.
Without breaking the chain of arguments, Bharucha said, “It is clearly a colourable legislation.”Desai took over from Bharucha saying there was no Assembly debate; no objects and reasons or reports sought before the ban was into practice. He said there were five states in India where beef sale and consumption was banned, but its procurement was allowed. “Why did the state not try these measures and then say look we tried but failed,” he submitted.
Around half a dozen interventions have been filed, contesting the claim of the petitioners in the case. Some of the interventions state that Right to Life and Liberty in the Indian Constitution is applicable to animals as well.
“The choice of food cannot be out of necessity have no right over the life of animals. Bulls and bullocks are are saying ‘save our lives’,” said an intervening application by ‘Akhil Bharat Krushi Gau Seva Sangh’ and Dr Vinod Kothari, one of the interveners. The state had earlier defended its decision to ban beef in Maharashtra by telling the court that eating it was not a fundamental right.
The HC is likely pronounce its verdict on April 27 or 28
To eat beef (or what you like) is not your FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT: Maharashtra Govt in HC
The Maharashtra government Tuesday defended its decision to ban beef in the state by telling the Bombay High Court that eating it was not a fundamental right.
After the government banned the sale, consumption and procurement of meat from bulls and bullocks slaughtered outside the state, a bunch of petitions were filed against the decision in court. A few applications contesting the petitioners’ claims were also filed.
In the ongoing arguments on Tuesday, the government’s counsel advocate general Sunil Manohar claimed that the Supreme Court had already held that possession of beef was “reprehensible”.
The petitioners claim that Section 5D of the new beef law, which specifically prohibits possession of beef slaughtered even outside the state, has no link with the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995. The petitioners’ counsel Aspi Chinoy has also claimed that the section is not in public interest.
But Manohar claimed the provision was mandatory to ensure a complete ban on beef in the state.
“To eat the flesh of cow progeny is not a fundamental right,” said Manohar, adding that the ban cannot be seen as a violation of fundamental rights to life and liberty. He also said that fundamental rights and the state’s directives had to work in tandem.
The state contended that the ban on the possession and trade of beef was aimed at “perfect” implementation of the Act as allowing people to bring it from outside would defeat the law’s purpose. “People would take animals to the border and slaughter them,” said Manohar.
One of the petitioners had claimed that under the country’s penal law, it was permissible to eat flesh of all kinds, except human flesh. Contesting the claim, Manohar said, “One cannot say I have a fundamental right to eat wild boar or deer as these are protected animals under Wildlife Act.”
In its arguments, the state also tried clarifying that the move was in no way a complete ban on import of meat. “Possession of all other kinds of meat, including that of buffalo, is permitted,” the state’s latest affidavit said.
First Published on: April 22, 201512:00 am
No irreparable damage if beef ban continues: State tells High Court
By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published on: April 23, 2015 12:42 am
The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that staying Section 5D of the amended beef ban law would “open the floodgates” and that no irreparable damage would be caused if the section is not stayed.
Section 5D of the newly enforced law prohibits anyone from possessing beef even if it is brought from outside the state. Continuing from where he left off Tuesday, state Advocate General Sunil Manohar said the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act is a partial regulation and that there are plenty of other things to eat.
One of the interveners in the case said through his lawyer said that according to Hindu mythology, even Arjuna wanted to save cow progeny. “Chewing gum is banned in Singapore. There are countries like Italy and the US where other substances are banned. You can go to Goa if you want to have beef,” the lawyer said. He added, “Even marijuana is banned here, but if you want to have opium you go to Afghanistan where it is present aplenty.”
The HC was hearing intervention applications filed in the beef ban case. Around half a dozen interventions have been filed, contesting the claim of the petitioners in the case. Some of the interventions state that Right to Life and Liberty in the Indian Constitution is applicable to animals as well.
“The choice of food cannot be out of necessity….Humans have no right over the life of animals. Bulls and bullocks are are saying ‘save our lives’,” said an intervening application by Akhil Bharat Krushi Gau Seva Sangh and Dr Vinod Kothari.
The petitioners had argued that Section 5 D was bereft of any real meaning and had no “nexus” with the entire Act enforcing beef ban in Maharashtra. They had said if an animal was legally slaughtered outside the state, how could the state stop people from procuring it.
Meanwhile, with the HC stating that the beef ban should not be seen as a religious issue, the state government seconded this, saying views relating to mythology put forth by various intervenors in the case must be curtailed.
The Maharashtra government had on Tuesday defended its decision to ban beef in the state by telling the court that eating it was not a fundamental right. The state said that the ban on the possession and trade of beef was aimed at “perfect” implementation of the Act as allowing people to bring it from outside would defeat the law’s purpose. In its arguments, the state also tried clarifying that the move was in no way a complete ban on import of meat.
Beef Ban: We are just making a beginning: Maharashtra Govt tells HC
he BJP government in Maharashtra, which justified the ban on slaughter of cows in the Bombay High Court, on Monday told a two-member bench that it is “making a beginning” and “may consider” a move to ban slaughter of goats as well.
The bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice A R Joshi was hearing two petitions challenging a provision of the amended law banning the sale and consumption of beef in the state.
During the hearing on Monday, the court asked the state’s Advocate General (AG) Sunil Manohar why only slaughter of cows and its progeny has been banned. To which the government responded saying “we are making a beginning”.
The AG told the court that the objective of the ban was two-fold — to save animals from slaughter and preserving them for the agrarian economy. When it was pointed out that goats too are useful animals, the AG said it “may consider” such a move to ban slaughter of goats as well.
The AG, however, added that the state’s objective was not to promote vegetarianism or non-vegetarianism, but to regulate. “To regulate is not to prohibit absolutely,” he said.
The petitioners have challenged the validity of Section 5D of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, which stipulates that people in the state may not possess beef (meat of cow, bull or bullock) even if the slaughter is done outside Maharashtra.
Appearing for one of the petitioners, senior counsel Aspi Chinoy argued that the said section of the law was “arbitrary” and deprived people of their right to life and liberty. Chinoy argued that if the state had put its foot down and banned procurement of beef or its consumption from outside the state, then it had to show an “overwhelming public interest”. Calling it “extraneous” and “arbitrary”, the lawyer submitted that the right to choose to eat was a right to privacy and the same formed a part of the right to life and liberty.
“The law should not be arbitrary, excessive and unjust that compels public interest and affects their rights,” Chinoy argued.
However, AG Sunil Manohar denied that the ban on import of beef was an infringement of citizens’ right to life and liberty. “Article 21 should is balanced by considering the Directive Principles of the state and enacting laws. The right to eat is neither an absolute right, not absolute freedom. Freedom is governed by laws,” Manohar argued.
Arguing against Section 5D, Chinoy said it showed no “nexus” between preservation of animals and import of beef from outside the state. “The Act is meant for banning slaughter, and removal of the provision in question does not affect the Act… The only reason I can see is easing enforcement, but that is no reason to stop import of beef as it is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, The High Court has given two weeks’ time to the state government to file a reply in the form of an affidavit. 7 March 2015