The Bombay High Court on 6 May upheld the Maharashtra government’s decision to ban slaughter of bullocks under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The court, however, struck down a section in Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, which criminalises the possession of beef brought from outside Maharashtra.
The court allowed the state to act only after checking wh
ether the particular person having beef was in conscious possession of it.
The court gave this judgement, while hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the validity of the ban imposed last year.
This means people can’t bring beef from outside Maharashtra, but if brought, the authorities will have to find out whether it was involuntarily purchased and prosecution will follow soon.
As per the law, possession of beef liable for prosecution, thereby indirectly banning sale or possession of beef across the state.
The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act was made in March 2015 that bans slaughter of bulls, bullocks and cows. The law makes the sale of bulls, bullocks for slaughter a crime, inviting a five-year jail term and paying a penalty of Rs 10,000.
The state government has clarified it doesn’t have any plan to impose a “vegetarian regime or dictate or force food habits. The non-vegetarians are free to have their own food choices but cannot insist on a particular type of food”.
These petitions were heard by a division bench headed by Justice VM Kanade. After it came up before Justice Oka, the court had reserved the order in mid-January 2016.