After the state government’s provision prohibiting people from possessing beef slaughtered outside Maharashtra was challenged in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday, the government has been asked to file its reply by April 6. The petition argues that the state does not have legislative powers to ban people from possessing beef of animals slaughtered outside the state.
Arif Kapadia, through his counsel Firoz Bharucha, had challenged Section 5 D of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act 1995 (No person shall have in his possession flesh of any cow, bull or bullock slaughtered outside the state of Maharashtra).
Calling it a “draconian law”, Bharucha argued that the state did not even justify the enactment of the provision and initiated prosecution.
The lawyer said the enforced law in the state was aimed at protecting livestock for the purpose of the economy of the state, which is predominantly agricultural. “It is further stated that even if bovine animals who work in the fields cannot perform their functions, they can continue to provide dung for the purpose of fuel, manure and biogas and therefore cannot be termed as useless,” said Bharucha.
He, however, argued that the possession or human consumption of flesh of a bovine animal slaughtered outside Maharashtra would not impact the agrarian economy of the state in any manner, whatsoever.
The petition filed by Kapadia read, “A law enacted by the state of Maharashtra cannot apply to cattle slaughtered without offending the statutory provisions of the state. Therefore, flesh of cattle slaughtered outside the state can never be covered by the provisions of the 1995 Act.”
The petitioner, therefore, argued that the provision and the punishment that it entails was in contradiction to the Constitution. Kapadia has, therefore, sought from the court that the provision be struck down.
Justices V M Kanade and A R Joshi have posted the matter on April 6 and asked the government lawyer to reply to the contentions raised by the petitioner.