The Bombay High Court directed the Mumbai civic body today to prepare a regulatory mechanism to streamline the process of granting permission for animal slaughter for Bakri-Eid from the next year, days after the authorities were forced to temporarily suspend the system for online permission following glaring errors.
A bench led by acting Chief Justice Naresh Patil said such mechanism will not only regulate and simplify the process of granting permission, but, it will also put an end to the last minute litigations that courts witnesses each year before the Muslim festival.
“The rule of law is applicable for each religious festival. We understand that it is not easy for the state administration to regulate religious activities in accordance with the legal framework. That is why you (state) must have uniform policies to deal not just with permission for animal slaughter, but also with permissions for other religious activities.
“This will also reduce litigation ahead of various religious festivals every year,” the bench said.
The directions came while the bench was hearing a writ petition filed by a local NGO — the Jiv Maitri Trust.
The NGO claimed that there were errors in the online system of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for granting permission for animal slaughter this Bakri-Eid, which would be celebrated on Wednesday.
The NGO had filed the plea through advocates Sujay Kantawala and Ashish Mehta.
The NGO told the HC that the BMC had been granting permission for slaughter via an online mechanism that generated permission receipts in a PDF format without verifying the details submitted by the applicants.
On a previous hearing last week, Kantawala had told the high court that several lawyers had submitted fictitious names and addresses and secured permission for slaughter of goats inside the courtroom of the Bombay HC, through the online mechanism.
The BMC then temporarily stopped granting online permissions for slaughter.
BMC counsel Anil Sakhre told the HC that the civic body had revised its online mechanism and made it more stringent.
“Henceforth, all applicants would be required to submit copies of valid ID cards and address proof etc. to seek such permission,” he said.
The counsel said the applicant would also have to comply with the BMC’s conditions on marinating hygiene, carrying out the slaughter within a confined space, and following civic body’s directions on waste collection, and disposal.
The corporation has so far granted online permission for slaughter of 1,60,000 goats in Mumbai this Bakri-Eid, he said.