The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to interfere with a Government Resolution directing all Municipal Commissioners in the State of Maharashtra to ensure that all abattoirs and meat selling shops are shut during the Paryushan Parva celebrated by the Jain community.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre were hearing a PIL filed by one Mehul Mepani along with a writ petition filed by the Bombay Mutton Dealer Association.
Duration of the said festival is between 4-10 days and it is said to be one of the most important annual festivals for the followers of Jainism.
On September 7, 2004, the State of Maharashtra issued the said GR to all the Commissioners requiring abattoir and meat selling shops to remain closed every year when the members of the Jain community observe Paryushan Parva. Based on this GR, in 2015 the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation issued circulars directing closure of all abattoirs and meat selling shops within their jurisdiction for the period in which members of the Jain community celebrate Prayushan.
The above circulars and GR were challenged in the present PIL and petition.
"We need not trouble ourselves much with the jurisprudence on the subject because at hand we have the decision of the Supreme Court reported as (2008) 5 SCC 33 in Hinsa Virodhak Sangh v. Mirzapur Moti Kuresh Jamat & Ors."
In the said judgement, apex court dealt with resolutions passed by the Municipal Corporation, Ahmedabad directing closure of slaughterhouses within their jurisdiction on account of Paryushan Parva in 1998.
Supreme Court observed in the said judgment-
"As already stated above, it is a short restriction for a few days and surely the nonvegetarians can remain vegetarian for this short period. Also, the traders in meat of Ahmedabad will not suffer much merely because their business has been closed down for 9 days in a year. There is no prohibition to their business for the remaining 356 days in a year. In a multi-cultural country like ours with such diversity, one should not be over-sensitive and over touchy about a short restriction when it is being done out of respect for the sentiments of a particular section of society."
Advocate Kruthi Venkatesh instructed by Kranti LC appeared on behalf of Mehul Mepani, whereas Advocate Mahima Sinha instructed by Charles J D'Souze. They submitted that the said judgement of the Supreme Court is distinguishable because in the said decision, the ban was of slaughtering the live stocks and in the instant case the ban extends to selling meat.
The bench noted-
"In our opinion, this would make no difference for the reason the ratio of law laid down by the Supreme Court is that for communal harmony and keeping in view the sentiments of a section of the Society, if there is prohibition on slaughtering or sale of meat for short duration being 9 days out of 365 days in a year, the same would not be unconstitutional. It would not infringe the right to privacy, in that, the choice of what kind of food one should eat is not infringed."
High Court terminated both the proceedings and refused to interfere with an issue wherein the law has already been laid down by the apex court.