SC to hear J&K plea over conflicting HC orders on beef

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on October 5 a plea by the Jammu and Kashmir government seeking its intervention on the conflicting orders passed by state high court benches on pleas seeking prohibition on the slaughter and sale of beef in the state and another challenging it.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra agreed to hear the matter after counsel Amarendra Sharan mentioned the state government plea seeking the court’s intervention in the wake of the conflicting orders by the Jammu bench and the Kashmir bench of the high court.

The state government on Wednesday urged the apex court to either constitute a bench of the high court to hear the two matters or transfer to itself the matters and decide them.

The Jammu bench by its September 8 order asked the director general of police to enforce the provisions of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) which prohibits voluntary slaughter and sale of bovine animals.

The court order came on a plea by Parimoksh Seth and others.

The Srinagar bench by its September 16 order issued notice to the state government on the plea challenging the vires of the RPC provision.

While issuing notice to the state government, the Srinagar bench said the pendency of the matter challenging the vires of the RPC provision prohibiting slaughter and sale of bovine animals would not come in the way if the state or the state legislature contemplates to scrap or amend the provision.

“We would like to make it clear that if the state or legislature contemplates or takes steps for scrapping or amending the provisions as are under challenge, the pendency of this writ petition shall not operate as a bar,” the Srinagar bench said in its order.

The petitioner before the Srinagar bench had sought striking down of the RPC provision, contending that provisions banning the slaughter of bovine animals constituted an unreasonable infringement on the person’s fundamental rights.

The state government contended that both the petitions — before the Jammu bench and the Srinagar bench — concerned the same issue and were conflicting and there was a “realistic possibility” that the two benches of the high court might pronounce two judgments which might be “mutually contradictory”.