Meat ban order stayed in Mumbai, no curbs on individual choice

Mumbai civic body had reduced the ban duration but now that also goes

GN Bureau | September 14, 2015


#Mumbai   #meat   #high court   #ban  

There will be no ban on sale of meat in Mumbai. This morning the Bombay high court stayed the ban on sale of meat in Maharashtra on September 17. However, the court refused to interfere with the ban on slaughter of animals.

Earlier the ban was to be imposed for four days, September 10, 13, 17 18 but the BMC had on Friday revoked the ban to be imposed on September 13 and 18. The action was taken following protests from Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). The court had criticised the ban and questioned how the corporation can restrict the sale of meat.

The BMC counsel had on Friday informed court that the ban was originally meant only for slaughter of animals and the ban on sale of meat was consequential. It had argued that this was keeping in mind the health concerns of the public since the meat sold will be fresh.

The court had questioned that when there is storage available, it is an individual's choice ‎when they want to purchase and it cannot be restricted.

Now, even the one-day ban has been removed.

On Saturday, questioning the ban on slaughter of animals and sale of meat in Mumbai for four days, the bench had said, “How can you stop sale? Will the police and the municipal officers enter houses and say meat can’t be eaten?”

“You cannot have this formula for a modern city like Mumbai,” the court observed. It was hearing a petition challenging the ban filed by the Bombay Mutton Dealers’ Association.

The BMC said it had issued a circular, directing the Deonar abattoir to remain closed on September 10, 13, 17 and 18.

Two of these days were selected based on a 1964 BMC resolution and two on account of the state’s 2004 resolution.

“The ban on September 10 and 17 is applicable throughout Maharashtra,” said Narendra Walavalkar, senior counsel appearing for BMC. He said the ban for the other two days, September 13 and 18, was on account of the BMC’s resolution and applied only to Mumbai.

The ban was opposed not just by opposition parties but also the ruling BJP's ally Shiv Sena. The BJP wanted the ban extended to eight days, but the Sena said it would ensure that meat was openly sold and eaten in the financial capital on the days of the ban.

The ban during the Jain fast was introduced in 1994 by the then Congress government. Ten years later, the two-day ban was extended to four days. Mutton traders argued that the ban had never really been implemented until now.

"All these years you only banned slaughter not sale. How can you take this decision at the 11th hour?" the court asked the civic body.

The Maharashtra government also faced tough questions about the logic of the ban. "When you are talking of Ahimsa, how come fish, sea food and eggs are not banned?" the judges asked.

"Fish die the moment they are out of water. So there is no slaughter involved," was the government's baffling response. The sentiment, explained the government's top lawyer, was that there should be no slaughter.

"We have to change our attitude in view of globalisation," said the judges, who had yesterday commented that "an eight-day straight ban can't be a formula. Mumbai is a modern city."

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