The Bombay High Court Tuesday said authorities cannot prevent slaughtering of animals in totality, but they can ensure action is taken against shops slaughtering illegally and without license. A division bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari said it is for the Maharashtra government to ensure there is no breach of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Food Safety and Standards Act. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by one Ajay Marathe raising concerns over illegal abattoirs operating across the city. The petition sought directions to the municipal corporations for following an ethical procedure like rendering the animals unconscious before slaughtering them. "The authorities cannot prevent slaughter completely because ultimately it is food but they (authorities) can take action if there is any violation of the concerned acts or if any shop is slaughtering without licence," Justice Dharmadhikari said.
Stating that the matter concerns public health and safety, the court said it is for the state government to ensure that provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Food Safety and Standards Act are not breached. "We are concerned about public health and safety. Those persons who consume (meat) should not suffer. There are several places in the city where we see slaughter shops throwing carcasses and garbage on the roads and people are not even able to walk near those places," Justice Dharmadhikari said. "This is something that should not be tolerated," he added. BMC counsel Anil Sakhare told the court that the civic body has been conducting periodical checks on such erring shops. "From March 2014 to 2017, around 700 FIRs have been lodged against shops carrying out slaughter without requisite permission," he said. The bench directed the BMC to file an affidavit on this and also asked the state government to take up the issue with every municipal corporation and district council. The petition will be next heard on November 2.