Meat ban can’t be forced down people’s throat, observes SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a plea against a Bombay high court order staying a ban on the sale of meat in Maharashtra during the Jain festival of Paryushan Parva.

“These are not issues which can be forced down somebody’s throat…there has to be a spirit of tolerance,” the Supreme Court observed while hearing a petition filed by a Jain organisation to challenge the high court’s order.

On Monday, the high court had stayed the ban on the sale of meat in Maharashtra on September 17 but refused to interfere with another ban on the slaughter of animals.

A controversy erupted after the Bombay civic body decided last week on a ban on the sale of meat in Mumbai for four days during the Paryushan Parva, which lasts a total of eight days. It said that the slaughter of animals would not be allowed in the city’s abattoirs, and that meat and poultry shops and fish markets would be shut on September 10, 13, 17 and 18.

The move triggered a political slugfest with Maharashtra’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding the ban should be imposed for eight days and the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena strongly opposing the decision.

The BJP later said it would request the civic administration to reduce the ban to only two days.