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Possession of Dead Animal's Skin Not an Offence Under Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act: Bombay HC

File photo of Bombay High Court

File photo of Bombay High Court

The Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act (MAPA), 1976 prohibits slaughter, purchase, sale, import, export and possession of beef.

Possession of a dead animal's skin will not amount to an offence under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has observed while quashing a FIR against a man for possession of skins of dead cows. The Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act (MAPA), 1976 prohibits slaughter, purchase, sale, import, export and possession of beef.

A division bench of Justices V M Deshpande and A S Kilor passed the order on December 14 while hearing a petition filed by Shafiqullaha Khan Ashfaqullha Khan seeking to quash a July 2018 case registered against him under provisions of the MAPA for alleged possession of 187 skins of cows in a van he was driving. The FIR against Khan was registered with the Shivaji Nagar police station in Buldhana district.

Khan was booked under sections 5A (prohibition on transportation of cow, bull or bullock within the state for purpose of slaughter), 5B (prohibition on transportation of these animals outside the state for purpose of slaughter) and 5C (prohibition on possession of flesh of cow, bull or bullock). The bench in its order noted that the provisions of the Act prohibit purchase and sale of cows, bulls or bullock for slaughter and possession of flesh of any cow, bull or bullock.

"There are no allegations that the applicant was transporting or exporting cow, bull or bullock for the purpose of slaughter. There are also no allegations that the applicant purchased or sold or otherwise disposed of or offered to purchase or sell or dispose of cow, bull or bullock for slaughter," the court said. It added that thus no offence constitutes against Khan.

"There is no doubt that the skin is not covered under the provisions of the Act of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976. Thus, there is no prohibition for the possession of skin of dead animals," the court said, quashing the FIR.

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