Hearing arguments in favour of the beef ban, the Bombay High Court said Wednesday it was not to decide if the “beef ban was good or bad but looking into the legality of the issue”. The arguments by Advocate General Shreehari Aney and other intervenors supporting the ban concluded Wednesday with the proceedings going on till 7 pm. The arguments against the ban will continue on January 8.
The AG argued on the reversal of burden of proof, saying presumption of innocence was not a fundamental right. Laying down the foundation facts before initiating action under beef ban, the AG said these facts would have to be established before trial. “Before prosecution for possession of cow, bull or bullock meat, it will need to be established by state that what is in possession is prohibited meat and that the meat was illegally slaughtered,” said the AG.
The court questioned if the same facts needed to be read into the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (amendment) Act. The AG replied that the same had already been laid down. The court said since possession of beef was an offence in Maharashtra, “what is left to be proved”. The HC also questioned if the state would book people for offences under 5C (relating to illegal slaughter) or 5D (possession). Aney said a person would be prosecuted under 5C to prove illegal slaughter in the state and 5D when the meat had been slaughtered outside the state.