Srinagar: Two days after the Jammu and Kashmir government approached the apex court to resolve the beef ban issue in the state, the Srinagar bench of the Jammu and Kashmir high court on Thursday gave the state government three weeks to respond to a fresh petition challenging the ban on bovine slaughter in the state.
Bovine slaughter has been banned in the state since 1932 under the Cow Slaughter Ban Act in the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).
The court has asked the state government to respond as to why the ban should not be lifted.
The writ petition, filed by retired law professor Afzal Qadri, challenges the constitutional validity of Sections 298-A and 298-B of the RPC, which regulate the ban on bovine slaughter and beef sale in the state. While Section 298-A makes killing of bovine animals a punishable offence, Section 298-B makes the possession of any slaughtered animal in the state a punishable act.
The court order came two days after the state government admitted a plea in the Supreme Court against the “conflicting” orders of the state high court pertaining to animal slaughter and enforcement of a ban on the sale of beef in the state.
The apex court will hear the plea on Monday.
While the Jammu bench of the high court had ordered banning the sale of beef in the state, the Srinagar bench is hearing Qadri’s PIL against the ban and sought explanations from the state.
The beef ban had triggered widespread anger in the Valley with both separatist and mainstream parties like the National Conference criticising the order of the Jammu bench of the high court.
The Valley saw a shutdown and protests against the ban. Fearing trouble on Eid-ul-Adha, the government had shut down Internet services for three days.