May 06, 2016

India: Bombay High Court Strikes Down Two Sections of the Amended Beef Ban Act of Maharashtra (Maharashtra Animal Protection Act) Decriminalising Possession of Beef (Slaughtered outside the State)

Bar and Bench

Anuj A May 6, 2016

#BeefBan Bombay HC strikes down Ss. 5D, 9B of Maharashtra Animal Protection Act
Bombay High Court

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

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.

Amongst the senior counsel present in court today were Harish Jagtiani and Aspi Chinoy.

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The Quint - 6 May 2016

Bombay HC Upholds Maharashtra Beef Ban, Decriminalises Possession

The Bombay High Court on Friday upheld the Maharashtra government’s decision to ban the slaughter of cows and bullocks in the state.

However, the court struck down the section in the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act that criminalises possession of beef brought from outside the state.

Earlier in January, a division bench of justices AS Oka and SC Gupte had reserved the ruling after hearing arguments.

In February 2015, the President had 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.

As per the Act, slaughter attracts a five-year jail term and Rs 10,000 fine while possession of the meat of a bull or bullock attracts one year in jail and a fine of Rs 2,000.

Arif Kapadia, a city resident, and noted lawyer Harish Jagtiani had challenged the provision which states that mere possession of beef anywhere in the state is a crime. This is arbitrary and undermines the cosmopolitan nature of the city that houses people from all religions and communities, they contend.

Other petitions have been filed by Vishal Sheth, a lawyer, and Shaina Sen, a student, contending that the ban on beef violates fundamental rights of citizens.