The Bombay high court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government to submit dates on which animal slaughter and sale of meat should be banned in deference to religious festivals in the city and the state.
A bench led by Justice Anoop V Mohta directed the state government to file an affidavit by Thursday.
The bench was hearing a petition filed in 2015 by the Bombay Mutton Dealers’ Association, challenging a circular issued at the time by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra government. The circular imposed a ban on slaughter and sale of mutton and chicken owing to the Jain festival of ‘Paryushan’ in the city for four days in September 2015.
At the time, a bench of Justices Mohta and AA Sayyed had stayed the ban. It had also directed the state to come up with guidelines and a system to notify days on which sale/slaughter of meat will be banned, after taking all stakeholders into confidence.
On Wednesday, state’s counsel advocate Hiten Venegaonkar told the court that the reply was not ready and sought additional time.
The bench though granted just a day’s time to Venegaonkar, saying that the exercise was essential to ensure that citizens are not inconvenienced.
Justice Mohta added that the state cannot expect to be granted repeated adjournments and that the reply must be produced at the earliest.
He said that the court would consider if such a ban is in compliance with the law and whether it amounts to violation of one’s fundamental rights.
“The court has to monitor this issue of banning meat on religious festivals each year. The government will have to evolve a permanent system after consulting with all parties concerned for such matters must be handled in a mature manner. There has to be an arrangement in the society to ensure citizens are not adversely affected,” Justice Mohta said.