The Maharashtra government on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that its decision to ban cattle slaughter was not connected to religion.
“Religion has nothing to do with it. That is not the State’s contention,” Advocate-General Sunil Manohar told a Division Bench of justices V.M. Kanade and M.S. Sonak, during the hearing of intervention application from various organisations.
The court too expressed the view that the scope of petitions challenging Sections 5 (d) of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act did not encompass the aspect of religion.
“It has neither been argued by the petitioners, nor the State,” Justice Kanade pointed out.
The remarks from the court and the State came when advocates intervening in the matter brought up the issue of religion in their arguments.
“There is a myth created by some people who overlook the aspect that the ban is related to agricultural economy. In the Sanatana religion, the cow is not sacred. It is made sacred because of its utility,” said advocate Rakesh Kumar, representing one of the petitioners.
Another advocate, Subhash Jha, representing the organisation Vardhaman Parivar, invoked the Mahabharata, in which Arjun saves the cow progeny. “Even our freedom struggle started with Mangal Pandey [sepoy working under the British East India Company who revolted against using cartridges which had cow fat as a lubricant],” he said.‘Plenty of other things to eat’
Mr. Manohar further said that Section 5 (d) which prohibits possession of the flesh of cow, bull or bullock slaughtered outside the State of Maharashtra was only a partial regulation.
“There are plenty of other things to eat. The court will have to decide if the right to eat a particular type of meat is a core right or a fringe right,” he said.
Maintaining that “no irreparable injury” would be caused because of Section 5 (d), Mr. Manohar said the petitioners’ case was not sustainable.