Plea against halal meat: Supreme Court says it cannot dictate food habits
The courts cannot interfere with the food habits of people, the Supreme Court said on Monday, rejecting a plea seeking ban on the Halal method employed by the Muslim community to slaughter animals for meat.
A bench headed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul questioned the bona fide of the petitioner, stating it was a “mischievous” plea and cannot be entertained.
“Courts cannot determine who can be a vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Those who want to eat Halal meat can eat Halal meat. Those who want to eat Jhatka meat can eat Jhatka meat,” the bench, which also comprised justice Dinesh Maheshwari, said.
The petition was filed by an organisation, Akhand Bharat Morcha, challenging Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Section 28 provides that killing of animals in a manner required by the religion of any community will not be an offence under the Act.
Various forms of animal slaughter such as Halal and Jhatka get the protection afforded by Section 28.
Halal, an Arabic word which translates to “permissible” or “lawful,” signifies what is allowed under Islamic law. It is particularly associated with Islamic dietary practices and method in which meat is prepared. Jhatka is the method more common for the Hindu and Sikh community.
The court pointed out to the petitioner that Section 28 protects not just Halal but Jhatka too.
The petitioner argued that killing by Halal causes more suffering to the animal than by Jhatka, and that such exemptions should not be allowed in a secular country.
The bench declined to entertain the plea.
“Your petition is mischievous in character,” the top court said.