In two pleas filed by Haridwar residents to the Uttarakhand High Ccourt, stating that a ban on slaughterhouses in Haridwar, discriminated against minorities as Haridwar has a substantial Muslim population.
In March the State Govt. announced that all areas in Haridwar were slaughterhouse free. The Govt also cancelled no objection certificates issued to slaughterhouses. Two petitions challenging the order were taken to the High Court. One of them stated that the blanket ban on meat of any type is unconstitutional. In addition, the section which the Uttarakhand Govt. imposed in the UP Municipalities Act, 237A which allowed for the state government to declare a slaughter free zone in any area under municipal corporation, was also highlighted as unconstitutional in the petition.
The Government had also made an amendment to the UP Municipal Corporation Act which allowed for such a blanket ban on animal slaughter to take place. The Court actually asked the petitioners to modify their pleas by questioning the constitutional validity of such an amendment by the state.
In Friday’s hearing, the Court used surveys on Indian food habits and geographical distribution of food habits from 2018-2019. As per the surveys used, 72.6% of the population of Uttarakhand are non-vegetarians. In total, 70% of the Indian population is non-vegetarian, thus busting the myth that majority of Indian’s are vegetarian, which happens to be a key justification for beef bans in various states.
The court went on to say that such a ban violates the fundamental rights of citizens; it is not simply a majority vs minority matter. The court proceeded to recommend amendments to the two pleas to be made in a week, as neither mentioned how such a ban violates the Right to Privacy of the citizen, and fail in challenging “seminal constitutional issues”.