The Supreme Court on Friday observed that its verdict declaring privacy a fundamental right may affect the ban on beef in Maharashtra, ANI reported. Senior advocate Indira Jaising asked the top court to reconsider a ruling from 2005, where it had upheld a complete ban on the slaughter of cows and other bovines, Bar and Bench reported.
In 2005, a seven-judge bench had ruled in favour of a ban on the slaughter of cows and their progeny in Gujarat. The restriction extended to bulls, bullocks, heifers and calves. The judgment was passed during the hearing of a case on the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act of 1955, which was applicable in Gujarat though an amendment Act of 1994.
“There are other larger issues than privacy which I am raising,” Jaising said, calling for a larger bench to hear the case. If her request is granted, a nine-judge bench will hear the matter. On Twitter, she said she was moving her focus on the “right to food of choice”.
Jaising, who is representing 30 social activists based in Maharashtra, also challenged a Bombay High Court order from May 2016, which upheld the ban on cow slaughter in the state under the Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act of 2015, according to Live Law.
In its 2005 verdict, the Supreme Court had dismissed the argument that a complete ban on cow slaughter violated the fundamental right of butchers to practice any occupation. The bench had held that there were reasonable restrictions in the law that allowed such a ban.
Section 5 of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act imposes a complete ban on cattle slaughter. On August 10, the state government moved the Supreme Court, seeking to revive Section 5D of the law, which makes storing beef at home an offence. If allowed, it will make it legal for the police to stop and search a person suspected of carrying cow, buffalo or bullock meat, and also enter homes to carry out searches.