Taking note of a technicality that prevents the enactment of the amendment, the Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday stayed its earlier order that prevented the slaughter of bulls and bullocks at the Deonar abbatoir and other places in Mumbai. The HC has now allowed beef traders to “deal with animals lying with them in accordance with the law”.
Acting on a petition filed by the Bharatiya Gouvansh Rakshan Sanrakshan Parishad, the division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice AR Joshi had, on March 3, directed the city police commissioner and civic chief to ensure bulls and bullocks are not slaughtered at the Deonar abattoir and other places across the city. The petition stated although t he President had given a nod to the 1995 amendment to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976 — which prevents the slaughter of bulls and bullocks — on February 26, the police and the BMC chief did not take steps to implement it.
On Thursday, senior advocate Yusuf Muchhala, who represented the interveners, Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers Welfare Association, pointed out that even though presidential assent has been granted to the amendment, it has not been published in the official gazette, and hence cannot be brought into effect according to the provisions of the Maharashtra General Clauses Act, 1904.
The counsel for the petitioner said the assent to the parent legislation — Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act — was published in the official gazette in April 1978 and therefore the amendment of 1995 has become a part of the legislation, which came into force the moment the President granted his assent.
The response failed to impress the judges, who held the law of the land must be followed in letter and spirit and a court cannot take away a right conferred upon any citizen by its interim order.