MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday said the closure of slaughter houses and meat selling shops for a short period in keeping with the sentiments of a particular section of the society was not unconstitutional.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre refused relief in petitions filed by the Bombay Mutton Dealers Association and one Mehul Mepani.
The petitioners challenged circulars issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation, directing for abattoirs and meat selling shops to be shut during the Jain community's 'Paryushan' festival.
In September 2015, the corporations issued circulars stating that each year during Paryushan, which ranges from four to ten days, all slaughter houses and meat selling shops shall remain closed.
The festival, usually celebrated in August and September, is considered as a holy period by the Jain community during which they fast and meditate.
The petitioners claimed that directing the shops to be shut was violative of the fundamental right to livelihood and sought for the circulars to be stayed.
The high court, however, relied on a Supreme Court judgment passed on a similar circular issued by the Ahmedabad civic body ruling that temporary closure of shops was not unconstitutional.
"In our opinion, in keeping with the sentiments of a particular section of the society, if abattoirs and meat selling shops are closed for a short period then it is not unconstitutional," the court said.
While refusing any relief, the bench said it would place the petitions for final hearing on a later date.