Mumbai can sell meat on Thursday, rules High Courttext_fields
Mumbai: On Thursday, meat will be available in Mumbai, the High Court ruled Monday, putting on hold a ban that has sparked a political controversy and much debate on social media.
The ban imposed for the Jain fasting festival of Paryushan, had last week been reduced from four days to only one more day, September 17, by Mumbai's Shiv Sena-dominated civic body.
The Sena had opposed the ban, openly disagreeing with its ally BJP, which wanted the slaughter and sale of meat to be restricted for eight days, not just four.
The court today acted on a petition by mutton traders, who had challenged the ban last week.
During arguments in court last week, the judges had criticized the ban in "progressive" Mumbai. "There is a progressive look to Mumbai. These are regressive steps. We understand the sentiment part. But purchase is an independent choice," the court said.
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 a recent order from the civic body.
"All these years you only banned slaughter not sale. How can you take this decision at the 11th hour?" the court questioned officials.
The Maharashtra government also faced tough questions about the logic of the ban. "When you are talking of Ahimsa, how come fish, sea food and eggs are not banned?" the judges asked.
"Fish die the moment they are out of water. So there is no slaughter involved," was the government's baffling response. The sentiment, explained the government's top lawyer, was that there should be no slaughter.
"We have to change our attitude in view of globalisation," said the judges, who had yesterday commented that "an eight-day straight ban can't be a formula. Mumbai is a modern city."
The state's ruling BJP has been confronting protests in some of the other party-ruled states where the ban has been imposed.