New Delhi | The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea filed against a Bombay High Court order staying the decision to ban sale of meat in Mumbai during Jain festival. A bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and Kurian Joseph, however, allowed petitioner Shree Tapagachiya Atma Kamal Labhdisuriswarji Gyanmandir Trust, a trust of minority Jains, to approach the Bombay High Court with its grievances.
We make it clear that we have not made any observations on the merits of the case. It would be open for the petitioner to approach the high court which would decide the plea within a period of six months. Petition is dismissed as withdrawn, the bench said. At the outset, the court expressed its reluctance to stay the order of the high court, saying, Half-a-day has already gone, and the high court’s decision seems to be a very elaborate one.
There has to be the spirit of tolerance and anything should not be thrust on a particular class, it said. One of the judges recited a couplet from a poem of Kabir and said that even good teaching cannot be forced upon others and people reap what they sow.
The remark came when the counsel for the petitioner said that non-violence and compassion towards animals have been a part of good teachings and observing two days ban on sale of meat is not going to harm anybody. Compassion towards animals does not have to be observed on festival days only, the court said.
The Bombay High Court had on September 14 stayed the ban on sale of meat for today in Mumbai imposed in the wake of Jain community’s ‘Paryushan’ fasting period. The court had, while clarifying that the stay will be limited to the Mumbai jurisdiction area, refused to interfere with the ban on slaughter of meat and closure of abattoirs.
The high court had also observed that though the Maharashtra government issued a circular in 2004 banning meat sale on two days, it was never implemented fully, adding that there has been inconsistency in the stands of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the state government.
The HC had also queried as to why fish and eggs were excluded from the ban, saying, If it is a question of practice of non-violence by the Jain community, then why only mutton and chicken have been included in the ban and not fish and eggs?