Skip to main content

Law criminalizing cow slaughter, possession of beef "violates" state's mandate not to enforce religious practices on people

By Our Representative
Thirty senior citizens have challenged the Maharashtra government’s recent decision to ban cow slaughter and possession of beef as a non-bailable offence, saying the whole purpose of the ban is to “implement” a certain version of Hindu belief, which may not be acceptable to all. Filing a petition in the Bombay High Court, they say, the ban is “in violation of the basic structure of the Constitution of India which mandates the state not to make law towards enforcement of a particular religious practice.”
Consisting of some of the most well-known activists, writers, researchers and professionals based in Maharashtra, and filed through advocates Mihir Desai and Rebecca Gonsalvez, the petitioners say that the ban is in “violation of Article 51A (f) of the Constitution of India, which requires citizens to cherish the rich composite culture of India.”
They add, the ban order goes so far as to even criminalizes even the very possession of beef, including the one slaughtered outside Maharashtra – and all this under the “wrong” belief that “the Hindu religion does not permit eating of beef.”
Under the new law, according to the petitioners, even if one “purchases cooked or raw beef, or tinned beef in the State of Goa, where the slaughter of bulls and bullocks is permitted, which purchase is perfectly legal in Goa, and brings the same into Maharashtra, one would be committing an offence under the newly added section 5D.”
Pointing out that “one would then be arrested, and languish in jail in view of the offence being a non-bailable one, merely for possessing a tin of beef”, the petitioners says, this equally applies to even tinned beef purchased in the USA, where the slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks is legal.”
Taking exception to making mere possession of beef a criminal, non-bailable offence in the State of Maharashtra punishable with imprisonment up to one year and fine up to Rs 2000, the petitioners say, this “encroaches upon the fundamental right of the petitioners to consume beef in the State of Maharashtra.”
Saying that the slaughter of bulls and bullocks was “permitted in the State of Maharashtra prior to March 4, 2015, subject to certain conditions”, the petitioners object to the introduction of a new section 5B to the existing law on cow slaughter, which “prohibits the sale/ disposal of any cow, bull or bullock for slaughter and impacts the availability of beef in Maharashtra.”
According to them, “The right to eat the food of one’s choice is an integral part of the right to life and personal liberty. Beef has been an essential part of the diet of some of the petitioners for years together. Some of the petitioners have traditionally eaten beef.”
Therefore, they say, the introduction of certain sections is an “encroachment on the fundamental right to life and personal liberty of the petitioners, their right to eat the food of their choice, food which they have eaten all their lives and is an essential part of their diets”.
Pointing out towards economic reasons for consuming beef, which is also their most important source of protein, the petitioners say, it was the “cheapest form of non-vegetarian food”, costing just Rs 120 per kg before it was banned, as against fish, chicken, mutton and lamb which range from Rs 175 to Rs 500 or more. “Even economically, there is no substitute for beef”, they insist.

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Gujarat religious freedom amendment bill 'pursues' votebank politics, is anti-minority

Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja  By Our Representative  A Gujarat-based minority rights organisation, taking strong exception to the state assembly last week passing the Gujarat Religious Freedom (Amendment) Bill, 2021, has asserted that the proposed law “is completely unconstitutional”, even as asking the Gujarat governor to give his accent to it.