The Bombay High Court held that the order of Bhiwandi Municipal Commissioner permitting the operations of temporary slaughterhouses was illegal and arbitrary. The Court stated that slaughtering of animals can only take place in licensed slaughterhouses.
The PIL by Jiv Maitri Trust
Public interest litigation was filed by an NGO called Jiv Maitri Trust against the order passed by the Bhiwandi Municipal Commissioner, which had permitted the operations of 38 temporary slaughterhouses to service Bakrid festival from 21st July till 23rd July. According to the petition the slaughterhouses were not licensed by law and hence illegal. In addition to this, a similar petition was filed by an NGO called Gau Gyan Foundation.
In an earlier petition filed by Al-Quarish Human Welfare Association and All India Jamaiatul Quresh seeking directions to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to increase the number of sacrifices on Bakrid, the Bombay High Court had refused to interfere and had stated that public health superseded religion.
Contentions in the PIL
The Jiv Maitri trust had contended that the temporary slaughterhouses were not recognised and licensed. According to the NGO, the Bhiwandi Municipal Commissioner had passed the order permitting operation even though the Deputy Commissioner of the Animal Husbandry Department had not granted staff to the temporary slaughterhouses and that veterinarians were important for carrying out ante mortem and post mortem. In addition to this, the Gau Gyan Foundation had alleged the organization of an illegal market for livestock slaughter.
Observations by the Court
The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta observed that the order of the Bhiwandi Municipal Commissioner was arbitrary and illegal. According to the Court, temporary slaughterhouses were not recognized or licensed; hence, no slaughtering must take place in any slaughterhouse without a license.
Court Stays Order as Illegal
The Bombay High Court passed an interim order by saying the order of the Bhiwandi Municipal Commissioner was illegal. Additionally, the Court issued notices to the Bhiwandi Municipal Commissioner to file their response and was ordered by the Court to file the same by 6th August 2021.
As far as the petition filed by the Gau Gyan Foundation was concerned, the Court directed the Police Commissioner to ensure no illegal slaughtering of animals was taking place. The Police Commissioner was also directed to file a response by 6th August 2021.