Maharashtra beef ban flouts right to life: PIL

Rosy Sequeira,TNN | Mar 11, 2015, 12.58 AM IST

MUMBAI: The ban on beef infringes on a citizen's fundamental rights,
says a PIL filed on Tuesday in the Bombay high court, asserting that
the right to eat the meat of one's choice is integral to it.

***In his public interest litigation, activist Ketan Tirodkar called
the recent changes in the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment)
Act, 1995, which provides for punishment for possessing or selling
beef, "atrocious". Consumption and sale of beef should not be
criminalized. "Right to eat should not be affected," he added.***
[Emphasis added.]

President Pranab Mukherjee last month gave his assent to the
amendments in the Act. The slaughter of cows was already banned in the
state; now bulls and bullocks have been added to the list. Anyone
selling beef or found in possession of it can be jailed for up to five
years and fined Rs 10,000.

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Tirodkar's petition says the ban is an infringement on Article 21
(right to life), which he claims includes "the right to eat meat of
one's choice". "The question is whether the State can impose such an
infringement on the fundamental right by virtue of an enactment," he
asked. The activist has urged the court to strike down the portion of
the law which makes it an offence to possess or sell beef.

***He said slaughter can be banned in the state, but there should be
no restriction on beef being brought in from neighbouring states like
Goa or from abroad for consumption. "Judicial activism is absolutely
necessary to strike down such a portion of an enactment that surpasses
the parameters laid down by Article 21 of the Constitution of India,"
he said. The matter will come up for hearing in due course.***
[Emphasis added.]


Hundreds of abattoir workers protest in Mumbai
Mohammed Wajihuddin,TNN | Mar 11, 2015, 12.58 AM IST

MUMBAI: Tuesday saw a couple of protests in the city against the
BJP-Sena government's alleged anti-minority policies. Opposition
legislators like Naseem Khan, Amin Patel, Waris Pathan and Jitendra
Awhad burnt a copy of the March 2 resolution quashing 5% reservation
to Muslims in jobs and education, and daily wagers at Deonar abattoir
and workers of beef shops demanded lifting of the ban on beef trade.

***Hundreds gathered at Azad Maidan and raised slogans against the
BJP-Shiv Sena government over enforcement of the Maharashtra Animal
Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995. Since the Act extends the ban on
slaughter of cows to bulls and bullock, work at the state-run Deonar
abattoir has drastically reduced, rendering thousands jobless***
[emphasis added]. "We have inherited this job from our forefathers and
we don't know any other skill. The government has struck at our
livelihood," said Deepak Bhalerao, leader of Sarva Shramik Sangh, an
organization of workers at the Deonar abattoir.

"Our families are starving. Where will we get food from? Did the
Fadnavis government think about its impact before it brought the new
law?" said Shakil Qureishi, another leader. Arif Qureishi, a beef
merchant at Crawford market, said around 80 workers at beef shops at
Crawford Market have been jobless since March 3.

Questioning if this is how Narendra Modi's slogan 'sabka saath, sabka
vikas' was being implemented, activists threatened hunger strike.
"Instead of starving at home, we will die during hunger strike if the
law is not amended. ***Cow slaughter has been banned and nobody
opposes it but by adding bulls and bullock to the list, the government
has hit the poor*** [emphasis added]," said activist Firoz