Eating, selling or storing beef is not illegal in Maharashtra: HC
Bombay high court upholds ban on slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks
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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