The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant an interim stay on the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks for Bakrid on the grounds that it would amount to staying a statutory provision.
A section of the Muslim community had petitioned the High Court seeking a relaxation on the complete ban on slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks for three days from September 25 to 27 on the ground that a complete ban was violative of their constitutional rights under Article 25 (freedom of religion).
The petitioners maintained that slaughter was an essential part of the Muslim religion and the blanket ban under Section 5 of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act of 1995, was extended from cows to bulls and bullocks.
Rejecting the plea for interim relief, a Division Bench of Justices A.S. Oka and V.L. Achliya observed, “We are unable to grant the prayer which will have the effect of staying the amendment to Section 5 of the Act.”
On the issued of constitutionality, the court said “a detailed investigation” was required, without which it was not possible to give a finding that the amended section 5 of the Act was unjust or unconstitutional.
The court pointed out that the Supreme Court in 1994 while hearing a matter related to the Bombay Animal Preservation (Gujarat Amendment) Act had upheld the complete ban on slaughter.
The petitioners have decided to approach the Supreme Court with their prayer, ahead of Bakrid.