NEW DELHI: A day after delivering the landmark ruling of declaring the right to privacy as a fundamental right, the Supreme Court on Friday said the ruling would have a bearing on cases related to slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks in Maharashtra.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was informed by senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing some of the petitioners, that after the SC’s privacy verdict by a nine-judge constitution bench, the right to eat food of one’s choice was now protected under privacy.
Senior advocate C U Singh also told the apex court that the privacy judgment would have to be looked into while deciding the issue.
The bench responded, “Yes, that judgment will have some bearing in these matters.” The observation came on a batch of appeals filed against the high court verdict which decriminalises the possession of beef in case of animals slaughtered outside the state.
The Bombay High Court had last year struck down sections 5(D) and 9(B) of the Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995. Section 5(D) criminalises possession of flesh of cows, bulls or bullocks, slaughtered outside Maharashtra while section 9(B) imposed burden on the accused to prove that meat or flesh possessed by him/her does not belong to these animals.
The state government too had filed an appeal in the top court. During the hearing, Jaising referred to the right to privacy ruling that had said, “Nobody would like to be told what to eat or how to dress while ruling that these activities come under the realm of right to privacy.”
She also referred to a 2005 seven-judge bench judgment of the apex court of imposing a complete ban on slaughtering of even unproductive bovine and said that this was also required to be re-looked by a larger bench.
“Right to eat food of your choice is now protected under privacy. Right to eat is now our fundamental right. Apart from this, I have also raised the issue of reconsidering the seven-judge bench judgment in the Mirzapur Moti case by a larger bench,” she said.
The bench said it would consider the issue on the next date of hearing and posted the matter after two weeks. Jaising informed the bench that the Maharashtra government has already challenged the high court verdict and the matter was pending before another bench of the apex court.
The Maharashtra government had approached the apex court challenging the high court’s verdict striking down sections 5 (D) and 9(B) of the 1995 Act on the ground that it infringed upon a person’s right to privacy.
Aadhaar not invalidated by SC verdict: UIDAI CEO
Tax payers will have to link their PAN with Aadhaar by the stipulated deadline, which is this month-end, as the Supreme Court verdict on privacy has no bearing on the requirement, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey has said.
The requirement for Aadhaar being quoted for availing government subsidies, welfare schemes and other benefits will also continue unhindered for now, he said. The government had mandated linking of PAN with Aadhaar by the extended deadline of August 31.