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Bombay HC disposes of PILs seeking relief allowing more sacrifices on Eid

While the petitions said BMC’s decision to permit slaughter of 300 water buffaloes each day is inadequate and it should be increased to 700, the court said that it was entirely a decision “within executive domain” and it can't grant such relief.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: July 21, 2021 9:43:02 am
The Bombay High Court (File)

Observing that the circular issued by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday pertaining to activities and programmes connected with Bakri Eid to be celebrated between July 21 and July 23 redressed primary grievances of petitioners, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday disposed of two petitions seeking reliefs and clarifications pertaining to offering sacrifices of water buffaloes at Deonar Abattoir on Eid-ul Adha or Bakri Eid amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the petitions said BMC’s decision to permit slaughter of 300 water buffaloes or “big animals” each day is inadequate and it should be increased to 700 per day, the court said that it was entirely a decision “within executive domain” and the court cannot grant such relief.

Refusing to relax the conditions, the bench said that the decision was taken keeping in mind the pandemic and that “public health was above religion”, and it will be difficult for the administration to manage in case of relaxations.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing PILs by Al-Quraish Human Welfare Association and All India Jamiatul Quresh seeking among other things, that BMC be directed to increase number of animals allowed to be sacrificed at Deonar Abattoir to avoid ad-hoc arrangements by individuals.

Senior Counsel Anil Sakhare representing BMC submitted a circular dated July 19 for Deonar slaughterhouse, in respect of the activities and programmes and festivities connected with Bakri Eid, to be celebrated between July 22 and July 23.

Sakhare submitted that restrictions on the number of animals to be sacrificed at Deonar slaughterhouse had been imposed to avoid overcrowding. Sakhare said, “Last year, it was 150 animals per day and we have allowed the slaughter of 300 big animals per day this year. People have to follow protocols while sacrificing animals and avoid overcrowding. As many as 900 or more animals are already there in Deonar which will be slaughtered. License to import more animals cannot be given beyond a certain date.”

He added, “All festivals are starting, for Hindus, Muslims and others. Nearly 13-14 lakh people walk in pilgrimage (Vaari) to Pandharpur but it is not permitted this year except for a few persons going by bus. Ganesh Utsav and Navratri will also be held. We are taking these precautions for the third wave and cannot allow relaxations as sought in petition.”

However, advocates A A Siddique and Tanveer Nizam appearing for the petitioners submitted that slaughter of 300 animals per day was insufficient as there were more orders made through online purchases prior to BMC circular and permission should be given to slaughter 700 animals per day during the three-day period.

The bench noted, “It appears from such a circular that the slaughterhouse will be open at aforesaid place between 6am and 6pm from July 21 to 23 and maximum buffaloes permitted to be slaughtered is 300 per day. The circular provides for other measures to be adopted for Covid protocol at the slaughter house. With the issuance of the circular dated July 19, 2021, the primary grievance with which the writ jurisdiction was invoked stands redressed.”

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