Mumbai: A petition seeking enforcement of Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, which bans slaughter of bullocks and bulls, was today disposed of by the Bombay High Court which said the law had already come into force.
A bench of Justices VM Kanade and AR Joshi said the law had already come into force and nothing survives in the petition filed by Bhartiya Gauvansh Rakshan Sanvardhan Parishad.
However, the judges said they are keeping the issue open as to when the Act had come into force.
While the government stated that the new law banning slaughter of bulls and bullocks had come into effect on March 4, Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers' Welfare Association, which had intervened in the petition, argued that they came to know about the new legislation only on March 9.
As regards the animals confiscated by police during this period (March 4 and 9), the court said the dealers were free to approach the court by filing separate petitions.
Earlier, the same bench, while refusing to grant relief to dealers, had advised them not to make a "religious and prestige issue" out of the ban on slaughter of cows, bullocks and bulls in Maharashtra.
"Since the law has come into effect, now the authorities are duty-bound to take action if slaughter is carried out. Please do not make this a religious and prestige issue," Justice Kanade had remarked.
Under the new law, which recently received the President's assent, anyone found selling beef or possessing it can be jailed for five years and fined Rs 10,000.