The Bombay High Court on Tuesday, August 6, passed an order banning the slaughter of sheep and goats in private residences and housing societies on the basis of a petition filed by animal welfare groups. In its order, which comes ahead of Bakr-Id on August 12, they declared that animals could only be killed at government-approved slaughterhouses after public interest litigation brought up the issue of illegal transportation and slaughter of animals.
A division bench of the high court with Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Justice Gautam Patel has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to restrict giving permission to people to slaughter animals inside their homes. According to legal website LiveLaw, the order states that “In our view, the requirements of public safety, hygiene and sanitation makes it impossible to accept any policy that permits slaughtering inside individual flats. In a city that is as densely crowded and congested as Mumbai and where typical residential apartments are small, we do not believe it is possible to make effective arrangements for human, hygienic and safe methods of sacrificial slaughter within a residential flat."
But since slaughtering goats is an essential part of the religious festivities of Bakr-Id, this order is bound to leave those celebrating pretty pissed. In their petitions, the animal welfare activists also challenged the civic body giving out no-objection certificates to several societies to slaughter such animals. But the court has instead designated 58 areas where these animals are allowed to be slaughtered and will probably impact the 8,000 odd no-objection certificates already handed out. It stresses that while it does not completely restrain housing societies from giving out permissions, it will deny the same for any society applying for such a certificate that is located one kilometre away from a slaughterhouse, including a religious slaughtering space. It also said that places near railway stations, bus stands, government offices, educational institutes and hospitals and other public places would not be granted the license to kill.
Raju Gupta, the lawyer representing the petitioner, said: "If someone is slaughtering animals at home, outside their home or in a closed area, penal measures will have to be taken against them and there should be a social awareness campaign about the order."
The Bombay HC also ordered that the local government and BMC should make sure these animals are not illegally transported. "All vehicles transporting animals will have to comply with laws. And if they don't comply with the laws action will have to be taken against them. If the existing laws are not complied with, then animals cannot be transported," Raju Gupta added.
Even as vegetarians in the city are probably rejoicing, the BMC still has its work cut out for it in terms of implementation, especially considering the cultural scale of the Bakr-Id festivities.
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