An Indian court on Friday struck down a tough law that had banned the consumption of beef in the western state of Maharashtra, dealing a blow to right-wing Hindu groups.
Last year the government of Maharashtra, home to India’s commercial centre Mumbai, made the sale or possession of beef an offence punishable by a five-year jail term or a 10,000-rupee ($150) fine. It was one of the strictest such laws in India, where several states ban the slaughter of cows, considered sacred by the Hindu majority.
However the Bombay High Court, Mumbai’s top court, ruled Friday that it was no longer illegal to possess or eat beef, as long as it had been brought into Maharashtra from outside the state. But it upheld the part of the law, introduced in March 2015, that had extended a 1976 ban on slaughtering cows to cover bulls and bullocks, according to the ruling published on the court’s website. “The court has struck down that provision which says that the consumption of beef is illegal in Maharashtra,” Harish Jagtiani, a prominent lawyer told AFP.
Harish was one of several petitioners who had asked the court to overturn the ban on consumption, saying that it infringed upon their right to privacy as protected in India’s constitution.