The Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which guarantees right to life and personal liberty doesn’t give right to choice of food, an intervener before the Bombay High Court argued during the hearing on petitions against ban on beef consumption and possession in Maharashtra.
Advocate Anil Anturkar, the intervener’s lawyer, argued that “right to food” is a part and parcel of Article 21 but not the right to “choice of food”. In fact, the right to choice of food is not covered under any right guaranteed by the Constitution, he said.
The division bench of Justices A S Oka and S C Gupte is hearing a clutch of public interest litigations challenging Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act.
While the original Act of 1976 bans slaughter of cows, the recent amendment prohibits slaughter of bulls and bullocks too, making it an offence punishable with five-year jail term and Rs. 10,000 fine. Mere possession and consumption of bovine meat too can attract one year in jail and Rs. 2,000 fine.
Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, appearing for one of the petitioners, had argued last time that by criminalising even possession and consumption of beef the state government had violated the fundamental rights of the citizens. He had said that right to choice of food fell under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The hearing would continue on December 16.