In a relief of sorts to the beef-eating community in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the order of the Bombay High Court imposing a ban on cow progeny slaughter in the state.
A division bench of Chief Justice of India KG Balkrishnan and Justice DK Jain stayed the HC order till January 12.
The bench was hearing a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the Maharashtra government challenging the HC order of December 15, 2006, banning the cow progeny slaughter.
The government contended that there was no legislation in the state to ban slaughter of cow progeny. Also, by imposing such a ban, the judiciary was overstepping the legislation.
On December 26, Justice SJ Vazifdar had granted an interim stay on the order restraining cow progeny slaughter till January 4. Citizens, Mohammed Naseem Siddiqui and Mohammed Rauf Qureshi, had filed the petition seeking relief in the wake of the festival Bakrid.
Advocate General Ravi Kadam had argued on December 26 that the ban should be stayed as the order was passed after nearly eight years of filing of main petition by NGO Viniyog Parivar Trust. Also, that the judiciary was trying to interfere with the legislation.
Majeed Memon, counsel for Siddiqui and Qureshi told HT that they had supported the Maharashtra government's SLP in the apex court on Thursday.
On December 15, the HC had stayed the slaughter of cow progeny on a petition filed by NGO Viniyog Parivar Trust in 1998 seeking a complete ban on cow progeny slaughter on the lines of ban in Gujarat.
Since 1976, there is a ban on cow slaughter in Maharashtra after the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act (MAPA) came to be enacted.
However, the cow progeny could be slaughtered after acquiring the 'Fit for Slaughter' certificate from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Ruling that "no male progeny of the cow upto the age of 16 years shall be slaughtered within the state," the HC on December 15 extended the protection to male cow progeny.