Give traders time, says court

The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra government if it could consider giving reasonable time to beef traders to dispose of their livestock and carcass, the sale of which has been banned by a law implemented recently in Maharashtra.

“Will you start prosecution of those possessing cattle and carcass? Consider giving them reasonable time to dispose of the same,” a Division Bench of Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice A.R. Joshi said, while hearing an intervention application filed by beef traders and abattoirs. The court had earlier refused to grant any relief to the traders on the grounds that a law had already been notified.

The new Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act bans slaughter of bullocks and bulls.

Those possessing or selling beef can be imprisoned for five years and fined up to Rs. 10,000.

A public interest litigation (PIL) petition was filed in the court seeking implementation of the law.

The beef traders had last week filed an intervention application.

On Thursday, Advocate- General Sunil Manohar informed the court that the government would initiate prosecution against all those found to slaughter cows and bullocks.

“I will seek instruction from the government regarding the time given to them to dispose of live cattle and carcass,” Mr. Manohar said after the court’s suggestion.

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