The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea that sought a ban on transporting beef to states where cow slaughter is illegal. The apex court refused to make new changes to state laws and said, “One state may ban slaughter, the other may not... We will not interfere in state laws.”

The petition was filed by one Vineet Sahai. The bench told Sahai that it had already passed orders to stop the illegal inter-state transportation of cattle. In August last year, around 36 beef dealers’ associations in Maharashtra had filed a petition with the top court, challenging the ban on cow slaughter.

Earlier last year, the Maharashtra government had amended the state Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1976, and banned the slaughter of cattle – bulls, bullocks and cows. However, several petitions were filed in the Bombay High Court, questioning the validity of the ban. The petitioners had argued that the ban violates the fundamental rights of citizens, and undermines the state’s cosmopolitan fabric, with residents from all faiths and communities.

The court upheld the government’s ban, but it struck down a provision in the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act that criminalised the possession of beef brought from outside the state.