The Jammu & Kashmir High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the state government on a fresh petition challenging the cow slaughter Act in the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).
The court has asked the state government to respond within seven days.
The writ petition, filed by retired law professor Afzal Qadri, challenges the constitutional validity of RPC sections 298-A and 298-B, which regulate the ban on bovine slaughter and beef sale in Jammu and Kashmir. While section 298-A of the RPC makes killing of bovine animals a punishable offence, the 298-B makes “possession of any slaughtered animal” a punishable act in the state.
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“We have challenged the section 298 of RPC and termed it unconstitutional,” the professor’s counsel Faisal Qadri told The Indian Express.
Recently, a division bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal had ordered the government to strictly enforce the ban on sale of beef across the state, leading to widespread opposition.
While some separatist leaders asked people to slaughter bovines on Eid-ul-Zuha and termed the court’s order interference into their religious affairs, the Opposition National Conference asked the Mufti government to issue an ordinance repealing the said provision of the RPC before Eid.
“Ordinances are meant for urgencies. It is the need of the hour to bring an ordinance to repeal the provision in the Ranbir Panel Code under which cow slaughter has been banned,” said former state finance minister and senior National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather.