Mumbai: Bombay High Court will pass the judgment on petitions challenging the beef ban in the state on Friday.
Maharashtra government enforced a beef ban in February last year after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act. Although the original Act, which banned slaughter of cows, was passed in 1976, the amendment prohibited possession and slaughter of bulls and bullocks and also consumption of meat.
According to the Amendment Act, slaughter attracts a five-year jail-term and Rs 10,000 fine, while possession of meat of bull or bullock attracts 1 year in jail and Rs 2,000 fine.
This decision was not received well by the butcher association in Maharashtra whose business was severly affected. After Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis declared the government’s decision on social networking site, the Butcher Association approached the High Court with their petition.
Division bench headed by Justice VM Kanade and Sonak heard the petitions for interim relief and ordered that the butchers should be allowed to finish their stock after which they would shut their shops. However the bench refused to lift the ban stating clearly that this issue cannot be argued at this stage for urgent relief.
Soon after, Chief Justice at the Bombay High Court, Justice Mohit Shah, retired and the then acting Chief Justice, Justice VK Tahilramani ordered the petitions to be heard by a bench headed by Justice SC Dharmadhikari.
However, Justice Dharmadhikari refused to hear the petitions stating “not before me”. The petitioners went back to Justice Tahilramani asking for another bench to be assigned.
A new bench of justice Abhay Oka and SC Gupte took up the case and the final hearing was to be heard in November. The bench reserved its orders around mid January after listening to the petitioners, interveners and the state.