Privacy verdict to have ‘some bearing’ in beef ban matters: SC
By Team Legistify / 2017-08-27

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The landmark judgement declaring the right to privacy a fundamental right would have “some bearing” on matters relating to the slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court said today.

The 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.While section 5(D) criminalises possession of flesh of cows, bulls or bullocks, slaughtered outside Maharashtra, section 9(B) imposed a 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.

The 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.A 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 the food of one’s choice was now protected under privacy.Senior advocate C U Singh also told the apex court that the privacy judgement would have to be looked into while deciding the issue.“ Yes, that judgement will have some bearing on these matters,” the bench observed.

The 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 the right to privacy.During 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. “Right to eat the 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.The bench said it would consider the issue on the next date of hearing and posted the matter after two weeks.

The petitioners have challenged the high court’s verdict upholding the ban on slaughter imposed by the state government.Jaising 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.“Maharashtra government’s plea is pending before another bench. The 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.The 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 ”.

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