Petitioners challenging Maharashtra’s controversial beef ban law told the Bombay High Court that the provision criminalising consumption of beef obtained by the legal slaughter of animals in other States was in contravention of Central laws.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Aspi Chinoy told the court that Section 5 (d) of Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, which prohibits possession and consumption of meat of cow, bulls and bullocks even if the animals have been slaughtered outside Maharashtra, was in conflict with Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and Livestock Importation (Amendment) Act, 2001.
He said whereas the Food Safety Act allowed the consumption of canned meat, the Livestock Importation Act had a category for “live-stock products’ including meat from bovine animals.
“Even though the Maharashtra Bill has got presidential assent now, the Bill was passed in 1995. Whereas these are Central Laws passed by Parliament and came into being much later,” he submitted.
On how Section 5 (D) caused a conflict, counsel said the Act criminalises consumption or possession of meat obtained legally. Also, the clause was not in consonance with the other provisions of a law whose purpose was ensuring the safety of agricultural assets in Maharashtra.
“Meat brought from other States would have no impact on the livestock here but this, in effect, is saying people not to consume beef at all. This, in effect, violates one’s freedom to eat what he or she likes and hence the right to privacy,” he said, responding to an affidavit filed by the government justifying the ban.