HC seeks reply of AAP Govt, police on PIL challenging beef ban

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Delhi High Court asked on Wednesday the AAP government and Delhi Police to file their responses on a plea challenging criminalisation of possession and consumption of beef in the national capital.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal was told by counsel appearing for police that they would file their reply within a day on the plea which has sought setting aside of those provisions of Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act which criminalise possession and consumption of beef in Delhi.

“You (government and police) file your response,” the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on December 8. During the hearing, the counsel for the petitioner told the bench that the Supreme Court was hearing issues related to possession and consumption of beef in Maharashtra. The court then also asked the petitioner to furnish a list of matters related to this issue which are pending before the apex court.

The plea has claimed that the Cattle Preservation Act was “a case of legislative over-reach”. The petitioners, a law student and an NGO, 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 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 also 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 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes “often have diet containing meats” and contended that “these communities are directly affected by enforcement of the Act”.

(With PTI inputs)

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