Privacy verdict to have ‘some bearing’ in beef ban matters: Supreme Court of India

Privacy verdict to have ‘some bearing’ in beef ban matters: Supreme Court of India

NEW DELHI (INDIA) :The landmark judgement declaring right to privacy a fundamental right would have “some bearing” in matters relating to slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court of India said.nnThe Bombay High Court had on May 6 last year struck down sections 5(D) and 9(B) of the Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995.nnWhile section 5(D) criminalises possession of flesh of cows, bulls or bullocks, slaughtered outside Maharashtra, section 9(B) imposed burden on the accused to prove that meat or flesh possessed by him/her does not belong to these animals. The state government had filed an appeal in the top court.nnThe apex court observed this while hearing a batch of appeals filed against the high court verdict decriminalising the possession of beef in case of animals slaughtered outside the state.nnA bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was told by senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing some of the petitioners, that after yesterday’s privacy verdict by a nine-judge constitution bench, the right to eat food of one’s choice was now protected under privacy.nnSenior advocate C U Singh also told the apex court that the privacy judgement would have to be looked into while deciding the issue.nn”Yes, that judgement will have some bearing in these matters,” the bench observed.nnThe Supreme Court had yesterday said “nobody would like to be told what to eat or how to dress” while ruling that these activities come under the realm of right to privacy.nnDuring the hearing, Jaising referred to a 2005 seven- judge bench judgement of the apex court imposing a complete ban on slaughtering of even unproductive bovine and said that this was also required to be re-looked by a larger bench.nn”Right to eat food of your choice is now protected under privacy. Right to eat is now our fundamental right. Apart from this, I have also raised the issue of reconsidering the seven-judge bench judgement in the Mirzapur Moti case by a larger bench,” she said.nnThe bench said it would consider the issue on the next date of hearing and posted the matter after two weeks.nnThe petitioners have challenged the high court’s verdict upholding ban on slaughter imposed by the state government.nnJaising informed the bench that the Maharashtra government has already challenged the high court verdict and the matter was pending before another bench of the apex court.nn”Maharashtra government’s plea is pending before another bench. Notice was issued on the plea. We are challenging the same judgement of the high court. I am only asking for tagging of all these matters,” she said.nnThe Maharashtra government had approached the apex court challenging the high court’s verdict striking down sections 5 (D) and 9(B) of the 1995 Act on the ground that it infringed upon a person’s “right to privacy”.nnThe high court had termed as “unconstitutional” the provisions which held that mere possession of beef was a crime, saying only “conscious possession” of the meat of animals slaughtered in the state would be an offence.nnIt had upheld the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks imposed by the Maharashtra government, but had decriminalised the possession of beef in case the animals were slaughtered outside the state.nnThe state government, in its appeal before the apex court, has assailed the verdict saying the restriction imposed by the 1995 Act on possession of flesh of cow, bull or bullock could not be interpreted and concluded to be an infringement of “right to privacy”.nnIt had said the high court “while coming to the finding that right to privacy forms part of the fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution, ought to have appreciated that right to privacy was not yet designated as a fundamental right”.nnThe plea had said that according to the verdict, obligation upon the state to prove “conscious possession” of beef would “constitute an unsurmountable circumstance readily available to the wrongdoer to escape sentence”.nnThe verdict had come on a batch of petitions filed in the high court challenging the constitutional validity of the Act and, in particular, the possession and consumption of beef of animals slaughtered outside Maharashtra.nnSource: Press Trust of India

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