April 22, 2015 12:00:13 am
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.
The arguments will continue on April 22.
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