The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the state government to act in a “fair manner” and “not harass” beef dealers, who have complained about their cattle being seized after the ban. The court said although the beef ban came into force only recently, it was proposed nearly 20 years ago.
Scenes turned chaotic outside the courtroom as police, apprehending a communal flare-up, deployed a swarm of personnel. A senior officer said the bandobast was for the beef ban case and did not allow anyone except lawyers and journalists. Even litigants were kept at bay. A large number of them were seen outside the court building.
The bench of justices V M Kanade and A R Joshi asked the state to be considerate about dealers taking their animals from slaughter houses after the ban. The bench said, “Some reasonable time should be given to them to remove carcasses and animals. You (state) should have a reasonable stand now that you have the executive policies in place.
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The law is of 1995 and enforced now after almost 20 years. Legally you are right but you do not need to harass them.”
The dealers argued that although the President had given his assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, it was put in the public domain much later and by the time it was notified, their animals had been forcefully seized. The petitioners argued that though the complete ban was effective March 2, there was no adherence to the new law.
Advocate General Sunil Manohar contested the dealers’ claims, arguing that the Supreme Court has already passed an order and decided that as long as the gazette notification is published, putting it in public domain is not a criteria. People are liable to face prosecution if they slaughter, said Manohar.
The court said the dealers’ had already made a statement that they will not slaughter animals .
“Let us not make it to a religious issue. It is a policy decision of the state government. Hold your horses as we never said we will not hear you all,” the court told the petitioners. The AG sought time to take instructions on the issue while the court posted the matter on March 19.