Srinagar | Granting about four weeks time to government to respond in a beef case, The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has said that if the state or legislature contemplated or took steps for scrapping or amending the provisions under challenge, the pendency of the writ petition would not operate as a bar. A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magray granted the time to government after Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal Ganai sought more time to respond.
The HC has listed the case on October 26. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by former Professor of Kashmir University S M Qadri with the plea that Section 298-A, 298-B, 298-C and 298-D of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) be declared as ultra vires to the Constitution of India as well as to Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and be struck down from the Code forthwith.
These sections of the RPC banned slaughter, sale and store of beef in the state. The court had issued notice to the government to file objection to the petition with a week on September 16. The petitioner has pleaded that the provisions are ultra-vires to Article 14, 21, 25 and 29 of the Constitution of India as they directly interfere with personal liberty and are an intrusion into religious affairs. He further submits that the provisions not only curtail and criminalize the right to profess and propagate ones religion which otherwise is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 35 of the Constitution of India, they also have no nexus with the Article 48 of the Constitution of India.
Under Section 298-A of RPC whoever voluntarily slaughters or kills any bovine animal such as ox, bull, cow or calf, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to 10 years and under section 298-B, whoever keeps in his possession flesh of any slaughtered animal mentioned in section 298-A shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to Rs 500.
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