Giving one last chance, the Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government to decide in six weeks time the days on which there would be a ban on slaughter of animals and sale of meat in the city owing to certain festivals. A division bench headed by Justice Anoop Mohta gave the direction to the state government earlier this week. It also pulled up the government for failing to formulate a policy on the issue, saying lack of such a policy would lead to chaos in the society. “The lack of a government policy will lead to chaos and confusion among common people at the last minute,” Justice Mohta said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Bombay Mutton Dealers Association in 2015, challenging a circular issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra government imposing a ban on slaughter of animal and sale of mutton and chicken in the city on four days in September that year during the Jain festival ‘Paryushan’. The high court had on September 14, 2015 stayed the ban on sale of meat, but refused to interfere with the ban on slaughter of animals during those four days. The bench had then directed the state government to come up with guidelines and also dates after discussing with all the parties involved when such a ban would be imposed.
“It is desirable that such issues are resolved by all the concerned parties at the earliest to avoid unnecessary complications. We reiterate that it would be appropriate for representatives of all parties and communities to sit together and work out an amicable solution and the state government and corporation to come out with a proper policy,” the court said. The court granted the government and the civic body six weeks time by way of last chance to file an affidavit in the matter. “This shall in no way prevent the parties to have amicable settlement and policy decision in the matter,” the court said, posting the plea for hearing on June 12.
The high court had in 2015 while staying the ban on sale of meat came down heavily on the government and the civic body for its “regressive” approach. It had said that in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai such a straight ban on meat cannot be a formula.