A PIL challenging criminalisation of possession and consumption of beef in the national capital has been filed in the Delhi High Court which on Wednesday sought a response of the AAP government on it.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked the Delhi government's lawyer to get instructions on the issues raised in the petition which has sought setting aside of certain provisions of Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act which criminalises possession and consumption of beef in the national capital.
The court also observed that a similar issue was pending before the Supreme Court and asked the petitioner to place before it a copy of the petition being heard by the apex court as well as the replies filed by the respondents in that matter.
"We will consider it," the bench said and listed the matter for hearing on July 13.
The petition filed by a law student and an NGO working for development of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes has claimed that Cattle Preservation Act (CPA) was "a case of legislative over-reach".
The main petitioner, Gaurav Jain, has contended that "prohibition on possession and consumption of beef per se as under Cattle Preservation Act is in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioners and other persons similarly situated as it infringes their personal liberty" and causes "hostile discrimination having no nexus with the object of the Act".
"The right to eat the food of one's choice is an integral part of the right to life and liberty," the PIL has said and added that the "Constitution of India mandates the state not to make law towards enforcement of a particular religious practice".
The petition, filed through advocate Apar Gupta, has also claimed that the Act was a "gross encroachment on the rights of the petitioners to chose what they can eat".
The petition has also said SC/STs "often have a diet containing meats" and contended that "these communities are directly affected by enforcement of the Act".
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