The Bombay High Court Thursday said it would start hearing all petitions challenging the Maharashtra government’s beef ban law from December 5 onwards. The HC set up a special division bench comprising justice Abhay Oka and justice S C Gupte to hear the petitions.
The Bench had to be specially constituted by Acting Chief Justice V K Tahilramani after Justice Gautam Patel, presiding with Justice A S Oka had to be recused from hearing the petitions as he had written an article in a newspaper in 2012 after the Karnataka government proposed a similar beef ban.
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The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act enacted earlier this year, banned the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, in addition to an earlier ban on cow slaughter. The sale of bulls, bullocks for slaughter has been made a crime, punishable with a jail term of up to five years and a fine of Rs 10,000.
The possession of meat of a cow, bull or bullock is also an offence which can be punished with one-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000. A bunch of petitions had been filed by citizens challenging the ban.