Supreme Court Notice On Maharashtra Govt Plea To permit Prosecution, Raids For Possession Of Beef

Team SoOLEGAL 11 Aug 2017 12:04pm

Supreme Court Notice On Maharashtra Govt Plea To permit Prosecution, Raids For Possession Of Beef

Today, The Supreme Court issued notice on a petition filed by Maharashtra government seeking revival of a provision of law that made it an offence to carry or continue beef at home in the state.

A bench of justices R K Agrawal and Abhay Manohar Sapre issued the notice to one Haresh M Jagtani who had challenged the law in the High Court.

The bench tagged the matter along with several awaiting matters on the issue of the state for a detailed hearing later

Few a year ago, the Bombay High Court struck down Section 5D of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, which received presidential assent on 4 March 2015.

The provision permitted any police officer to stop and search a person suspected of possessing the meat of cow, bull or bullock slaughtered outside Maharashtra. It also empowered police to enter homes to carry out searches. The state had banned cow slaughter in 1976.

In its appeal filed before the SC, the Devendra Fadnavis government said the HC erroneously held privacy to be a fundamental right and struck down Section 5D permitting the police to enter homes, stop and search a person on mistrust of possessing beef.

The state said the 6 May 2016, judgment could not have held privacy to be a fundamental right as at that time, the field was occupied by two SC judgments - one by an eight-judge bench in M P Sharma case in 1954 and another by a six-judge bench in Kharak Singh case in 1962 - declaring right to privacy as not a fundamental right. It is only now that a nine-judge bench is examining the status of privacy as a constitutional right, it said.

“Clearly, the HC failed to appreciate the law in its correct perspective, besides failing to observe judicial discipline, which is the foundation stone of the entire justice delivery system,” the state said in its appeal .

The HC had also struck down Section 9B which put the onus on the person, in whose possession beef was found, to prove his innocence. It had termed this a breach of Article 21.

Maharashtra said, “The HC failed to consider that in a similar manner, to the Act in question, presumptions have been raised against accused and reverse burden has been placed on accused in different laws - Essential Commodities Act, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Wildlife Protection Act, Foreign Exchange Management Act, Food Adulteration Act and Customs Act.”

Tagged: Bombay High Court   justices R K Agrawal  
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