Bombay high court refuses to relax ban on sale of beef for Eid in Maharashtra

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MUMBAI

The Bombay high court on Monday did not relax the ban on sale of beef in Maharashtra for Eid.

The interim order was passed on a bunch of nine new pleas seeking relaxation of the state’s beef ban for three days during the forthcoming Bakri Eid.

A bench of Justices Abhay Oka and V L Achliya tagged and heard all nine separate petitions and interventions in support of the plea and in support of the ban including one filed by an NGO, Viniyog.

The main plea was to enable slaughter of bulls and bullocks on the day of the Bakri Eid, which falls on September 25 and for the next two days. One of the reasons for seeking a relaxation on ban was that sacrificing a bull is more economical than sacrificing goats. The law as it stood, before the ban was enforced, allowed for slaughter of bulls and bullocks which were no longer useful on a certification to that effect. The plea was that for Eid the earlier practice be allowed as several families can come together and sacrifice a bull, but now each one has to independently sacrifice a goat.

The petitioners said originally the Animal Preservation Act governed preservation of cows unconditionally and placed a total prohibition on slaughter of cows. Bull and bullocks were mentioned only in the schedule of the Act and could be slaughtered on a conditional certificate when they were no longer considered useful.

They reasoned that bull and bullocks, which are no longer useful for agriculture, mulching or breeding and other purposes, could be allowed for such slaughter since Eid is celebrated with a sacrifice of an animal, excluding cows.

The state’s acting AG Anil Singh, who was present in the court, said the plea for relaxation of three days cannot be granted since the HC is still hearing another petition challenging the main Act..

Singh also argued that there are other animals permitted for sacrifice under the religion and hence it is not essential to offer a bull or bullock for sacrifice.

The HC had earlier in April declined to stay the beef ban but had cautioned the cops against invading privacy of people in a bid to check whether they possessed any beef.

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