Consumption, import and possession of beef allowed in Maharashtra: Bombay High Court

Photo credit:

The Bombay High Court today struck down two of the most controversial amendments to the Maharashtra Animal Protection Act of 1976.

While the ban on slaughter of cows, bulls, and bullocks in Maharashtra stays, the high court verdict decriminalises the possession and consumption of beef imported from outside the state.

As reported by the ‘Bar and Bench’ website,

Justices AS Oka and SC Gupte read out the operative parts of their judgment in Vishal Seth & 2 Ors v. State of Maharashtra today before a packed courtroom number 13 of the Bombay High Court. The provisions (Sections 5D and 9B), have been struck down as Constitutionally invalid.

Section 5D of the Act reads,
“No person shall have in his possession flesh of any cow, bull, or bullock slaughtered outside the State of Maharashtra”

Section 9B of the Act reads,
“In any trial for an offence punishable under 9 or 9A for contravention of the provisions of this Act, the burden of proving that the slaughter, transport, export outside the State, sale, purchase or possession of flesh of cow, bull or bullock was not in contravention of of the provisions of this Act, shall now be on the accused.”

Justice Oka said that the impugned provisions were in violation of the right to privacy, a right which is part of personal liberty. The other provision, namely S.9B, was held to be violative of Article 21.

Senior councils Aspi Chinoy and Mihir Desai had argued a batch of petitions filed on behalf of consumers of beef.

In February 2015, the President granted assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act. While the original 1976 Act banned slaughter of cows, the amendment prohibited, in addition, slaughter of bulls and bullocks and possession and consumption of their meat.




Related Articles