New Delhi: The Gujarat government and an animal rights activist have been jointly imposed a whopping Rs 50 lakh fine by the Supreme Court for wrongly seizing an exporter`s buffalo meat container on the allegation that it was carrying banned cow meat.
A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and S S Nijjar ordered animal right activist Rajesh Hastimal Shah and the Gujarat Government to pay Rs 25 lakh each as fine to Royal Exports, which had claimed a loss of over Rs one crore due to the seizure.
The apex court passed the order on the basis of a report by the Forensic Science Laboratory, Delhi that the seized samples of the meat was that of buffalo and not of cow.
The bench passed the order, dismissing Shah`s appeal against a Gujarat High Court order, directing the state police to release the export firm`s truck, seized on the activist`s complaint who also claimed to be an animal welfare officer of the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory advisory body to the Union government.
Shah had come to the apex court saying the high court had directed the Gujarat police to release the vehicles containing the consignment of cow meat meant for export on January 25.
It was his contention that although the Forensic Science Lab, Surat`s report on January 30, had shown that the samples seized from the container contained cow meat mixed with buffalo meat, the high court directed the release on the basis of another report submitted by the FSL Maharashtra which had stated that it was buffalo meat.