300 persons prosecuted under Maharashtra’s beef ban law within 8 months

Mumbai: The state government on Saturday in its affidavit before the Bombay high court, provided the information that over 300 persons have been prosecuted under Maharashtra’s new beef ban law ever since March 2015, as reported by an English daily.

The division bench consisting of Justices Abhay Oka and S C Gupte, was made aware about the conditions in the state right from when the law was brought into force to October, wherein 155 cases were lodged under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act. While Amravati topped the list with 54 cases, Mumbai only registered two FIRs.

The cases registered were related to the sale or transport of bulls, bullock for slaughter as well as for possession of meat of a cow, bull or bullock. These charges are punishable with imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of Rs 10,000 and a jail term of one year and a fine of upto Rs 2,000 respectively.

The High Court while hearing the petition, primarily focussed on section 5D, which criminalises possession of beef.

While the petition filed by citizens of Mumbai stated that court needs to protect their rights, as they belong to “cultural minority”, who consume beef. Advocate general S G Aney and advocate Hiten Venegavkar, representing the state, said that, “India is a vast country and people have different cuisine as part of their daily food. Eating a particular food does not entitle the constitution of a minority… The state’s objective is not to impose a vegetarian regime.”

The next hearing of this case has been scheduled for December 9.