New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Maharashtra government on a petition that challenged a Bombay High Court order permitting consumption and possession of beef brought from states that allow slaughter of cattle.
A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and D.Y. Chandrachud issued notice on the plea by Akhil Bharat Krishi Go Sewa Sangh after its counsel Manish Singhvi contested the High Court order's portion that allowed bringing into Maharashtra bovine meat from the states where their slaughtering is legal.
Holding that the High Court had erred on this count, Singhvi said: "It is difficult to distinguish between what is imported and what is not."
The petitioner organisation has sought declaration that the possession and consumption of beef in Maharashtra is a criminal offence.
Questioning the High Court judgment that held that the right to eat was a fundamental right forming a part of the right to privacy, the petitioner contended that the right to privacy, like any other right, was subject to reasonable restrictions and same has to be read with the Directive Principles that provide for cow protection.
The petition said that "a person has a right to eat, but it cannot be stated that a person has a fundamental right to eat a particular food, which is otherwise prohibited in law".
The petitioner also contended that there was no prohibition on eating non-vegetarian food. There was a ban on possession of the meat of cow and its progeny and the same could not be termed unreasonable.
However, another group of 30 individuals also moved the top court challenging that part of the High Court verdict which upheld the Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2015.
The group has challenged the ban, asserting its right to choose its food.
The high court verdict had come on May 6.