Eat­ing, sell­ing or stor­ing beef is not il­le­gal in Ma­ha­rash­tra: HC

Bom­bay high court up­holds ban on slaugh­ter of cows, bulls and bul­locks

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: Eat­ing, sell­ing or pos­sess­ing beef in Ma­ha­rash­tra is not il­le­gal if the meat is from out­side the state, the Bom­bay high court ruled Fri­day but up­held a ban on slaugh­ter of cows, bulls and bul­locks.

The court struck down two pro­vi­sions of a con­tro­ver­sial slaugh­ter ban law that pro­hib­ited the im­port of beef and crim­i­nalised its pos­ses­sion, say­ing the statutes vi­o­late the right to pri­vacy and choice of food guar­an­teed un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“The state can­not in­trude into his home and pre­vent a cit­i­zen from pos­sess­ing and eat­ing food of his choice,” said a divi­sion bench of jus­tice Ab­hay Oka and jus­tice SC Gupte.

“The state can­not pre­vent a cit­i­zen from pos­sess­ing and con­sum­ing a par­tic­u­lar type of food which is not in­ju­ri­ous to health or ob­nox­ious.”

Last year, the BJP state gov­ern­ment ex­tended a 1976 law that banned cow slaugh­ter and beef pos­ses­sion to bulls and bul­locks, mak­ing sale or con­sump­tion pun­ish­able with a five-year jail term and ` 10,000 fine.

This trig­gered a fierce de­bate on ris­ing in­tol­er­ance and free­dom of choice with ac­tivists say­ing the ban un­fairly tar­geted Mus­lims — the big­gest play­ers in the beef in­dus­try — and vi­o­lated con­sti­tu­tional rights.

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