The Maharashtra government has approached the Supreme Court against a Bombay High Court order which had decriminalised possession of beef where animals are slaughtered outside the state.
On May 6 last year, the Bombay High Court struck down as “unconstitutional” provisions which held mere possession of beef as crime, saying only “conscious possession” of the meat of animals slaughtered in the state would be held as an offence.
The high court had struck down sections 5(d) and 9(b) of the Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act, which criminalised and imposed punishment on persons found in possession of beef of animals, slaughtered in the state or outside, saying it infringed upon a person’s right to privacy.
Challenging the high court order, the Maharashtra government said restriction imposed by the Act on possession of flesh of cow, bull or bullock could not be interpreted and concluded to be an infringement of right to privacy.
Under the Act of 1976, there was ban on cow slaughter and possession and consumption of their meat, but in 2015, the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks was also included in the Act by an amendment.
The high court in its judgement had upheld the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks imposed by the Maharashtra government, but had decriminalised possession of beef in case the animals were slaughtered outside the state.