Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday clarified in the state Assembly that the ban was only on beef and not on the slaughter of other animals. The clarification came after the advocate general Sunil Manohar clarified that he never suggested extending the ban to include goats.
Fadnavis said, "There will be no ban on slaughter of other animals. The advocate general has been misquoted. There is no plan to extend the ban to other animals."
While hearing a slew of petitions against the beef ban, the Bombay High Court on Monday asked the government to explain why the ban only extends to the slaughter of cows and bulls.
The Maharashtra government ordered the ban on beef earlier in 2015. The Haryana government was the next BJP state to ban beef.
Asking the Maharashtra government why animals like goats do not figure in its ban on cattle slaughter, the Bombay High Court had mooted a licence policy by which import of meat of cows and bulls slaughtered outside the state can be permitted.
A division bench of Justices VM Kanade and AR Joshi was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging a provision under section 5 (d) of the recently amended Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act which bans possession and consumption of meat of animals like cows and bulls. According to the petitions, the flesh of these animals, if slaughtered outside Maharashtra, should be allowed inside the state.
"Why has the state banned only cows, bulls and bullocks? What about other animals like goat?" the bench asked. To this, Advocate General Sunil Manohar said the government was considering it.
"This is just the start (banning of cows, bulls and bullocks). We may consider banning slaughter of other animals too. As of now the state felt it was necessary to protect cows, bulls and bullocks," he had said.
The court also suggested that the government has a licence policy by which import of meat of cattle slaughtered outside the state can be permitted. "Section 5 (d) of the Act which is under challenge does not prohibit slaughter of cattle outside the state. Why should a person be prevented to eat or possess beef that has been slaughtered outside? Indirectly you (government) are prohibiting slaughter of animals outside the state too," Justice Kanade said.
(With additional information from PTI)