PIL against criminalisation of beef eating: Delhi HC seeks govt reply

New Delhi:Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the response of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on a PIL challenging criminalisation of possession and consumption of beef in the national capital.

A bench of Chief Justice cand Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to AAP government and sought its reply by September 14 to the plea, which has sought setting aside of those provisions of Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act which criminalise possession and consumption of beef in the national capital.

Petitioner law student Gaurav Jain, through his lawyer, told the court that a similar matter had emanated from Madhya Pradesh and is pending in the Supreme Court.

The counsel also said that similar provisions in a legislation of the Maharashtra government was struck down by the Bombay High Court.

The petition, also by an NGO working for development of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, has claimed that the Cattle Preservation Act (CPA) was “a case of legislative over-reach”.

They have contended that “prohibition on possession and consumption of beef per se as under Cattle Preservation Act is in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioners and other persons similarly situated, as it infringes on their personal liberty” and causes “hostile discrimination having no nexus with the object of the Act”.

“The right to eat the food of one’s choice is an integral part of the right to life and liberty,” the PIL has said, adding that the Constitution “mandates the State not to make law towards enforcement of a particular religious practice”.

The petitioners have claimed that the Act was a “gross encroachment on the rights of the petitioners to chose what they can eat”.

The petition has also said SCs and STs “often have diet containing meats” and contended that “these communities are directly affected by enforcement of the Act”.