You can Eat and Keep Beef in Maharashtra – Bombay High Court


Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday upheld the slaughter of beef in the State but allowed possession and consumption of beef brought from outside the State.

A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S.C. Gupte upheld the constitutional validity of The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1976.

The court said that section 5D that prohibits possession of the flesh of cow, bull or bullock slaughtered outside the State of Maharashtra infringes privacy therefore it has been struck down.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions which challenge section 5A of the Act that prohibits transport or export of cows, bulls or bullocks for the purposes of slaughter, section 5B that prohibits sale, purchase, distribution in any other manner of cows, bulls and bullocks, section 5C prohibits possession of the flesh of cows, bulls or bullocks, section 9 of the said Act that empowers the police authorities to search and seize cattle suspected to be taken for slaughter.

The court upheld that conscious possession of beef will still be punishable with a jail term of up to one year and a fine of Rs. 2,000. The court however struck down section 9B of the Act where the burden is now on the State and not on the accused to prove that beef in his/her possession is not in contravention of provisions of this Act.

Earlier on, former advocate general Shreehari Aney had justified the ban in the state by saying, Right to Eat is part of a fundamental right under Article 21 (Right to Life) Indian Constitution but Right to Eat a particular food is not covered under it.

These petitions were first being heard by a division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade. After it came up before Justice Oka the court had reserved the order in mid January 2016.

Earlier in December, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MLA, Advocate Waris Pathan had approached Bombay high court and challenged the state’s Beef Ban Law. While backing the ban on cow slaughter, Pathan has urged the HC to strike down the provisions that make it a criminal offence to slaughter old bulls and bullocks.

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