Sep 18, 2015 – J. Venkatesan | New Delhi
Observing that a meat ban cannot be forced down the throats of people, the Supreme Court on Thursday turned down the Jain Trust’s appeal to set aside the Bombay high court order restricting the ban on meat to two days.
The dismissal of the appeal by the nation’s highest court is a setback to the Maharashtra government, which had imposed the meat ban for four days, that was reduced to two days by the high court. After Maharashtra’s meat ban, similar bans were imposed in Rajasthan, Karnataka and the Jammu ad Kashmir high court also ordered a ban on the sale of beef.
The bench orally observed that whether one should eat meat during religious festivals of non-meat eaters or not was best left to the individual, and such moral policing could not be forced down people’s throats. Justice T.S. Thakur observed “these are not issues which can be forced down through one’s throat” when senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the trust, sought the reimposition of the ban on meat sale during the Jains’ “paryushan”, that ended on Thursday.
Rejecting the contention that a two-day ban on meat sale was an expression of compassion to animals and a practice of the principle of ahimsa, Justice Thakur said: “Compassion is not something that should be reserved only for festival periods. The poet Kabir said ‘Why do you peek into the homes of those who use meat, let them do what they do, but why are you so bothered about them, brother’ … You see, there should be an amount of tolerance and sensitivity to other communities also. Meat ban is not the way to inculcate ahimsa, which cannot be forced. It has to be appealed to in a different manner at another level. There are people who do business in meat products. It will be very difficult to implement the ban.”