Thursday, September 17, 2015

Meat Ban Not an Issue to Be Forced Down People's Throats: Supreme Court

Citizens in Mumbai can continue to buy and consume meat when they want, without any restrictions.  Endorsing a Bombay High Court order today, the Supreme Court said: "These are not issues forced down the throat of anyone. A Spirit of tolerance has to be inculcated."

On Monday, the high court put on hold a ban on the sale of meat that was to be enforced today in Mumbai for the Jain fasting period of "Paryushan".

A Jain organisation had challenged the order in the Supreme Court. The petitioner argued that the meat ban is a reasonable restriction, "keeping in mind the sensitivity of the people of a section of the society."

Refusing to interfere with the high court's order, the Supreme Court said: "It is only an interim order and the ban expires today   So you ( petitioner ) can go to the high Court."

The top court did ask the high court to decide within six months, whether the sale of meat should be banned during religious festivals.

The meat ban in Mumbai, originally for four days, had led to protests and debate. It was challenged by mutton traders, who have said that the ban will badly hit their earnings.

The ban during the Jain fast was introduced in 1994 by the then Congress government. Ten years later, the two-day ban was extended to four days but it had never really been implemented until the state government recently ordered a ban.

Last week, the ban was reduced from four days to only one more day, today, by Mumbai's Shiv Sena-dominated civic body. The Sena had opposed the ban, openly disagreeing with its ally, the ruling BJP, which wanted the slaughter and sale of meat to be restricted for eight days, not just four.

"We are only going by law and not by sentiment and politics," said the High Court, adding, "People should know in advance aboard such bans. At the 11th hour it creates complications. Sudden imposition especially on eating habits is not correct."

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