On Monday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi High Court defended the law criminalizing possession and consumption of beef in the national capital, saying that the “state was obligated under the Constitution to protect cows and other milch and draught animals from slaughter.”
Under the Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar affidavit was been filed by the Department of Animal Husbandry of the Delhi government which listed the matter for further hearing on May 16. The Department has said that “the Article 48 of the Constitution casts an obligation on the State to take steps to preserve, improve and prohibit slaughter of cows, calves and other milch animals and draught cattle”. Subsequently it has argued that, “Therefore, the provisions of the Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act criminalising the possession and consumption of beef in the national Capital be not declared as unconstitutional,”
The affidavit filed was the effect of the PIL filed challenging the Constitutional validity of those provisions of the Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act which criminalise possession and consumption of beef in the city. A student named Gaurav Jain who is a law student as well as by the NGO working for the development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had claimed that the Cattle Preservation Act (CPA) was “a case of legislative overreach”.
They have asserted 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 PIL also says that The right to eat the food of one’s choice is an integral part of the right to life and liberty, the Constitution “mandates the State not to make law towards enforcement of a particular religious practice”.
The petitioners dissented that this action is a “gross encroachment on the rights of the petitioners to chose what they can eat”. The petition also added that SCs and STs “often have diet containing meats” and contended that “these communities are directly affected by enforcement of the Act”.