The Bombay High Court on August 6, 2019, in the case of Jiv Maitri Trust v. Union of India & Ors. has held that no slaughter of sheep and goat can be permitted within residential individual flats during the upcoming Bakr-Eid festival.
A Division Bench of Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and Justice G.S. Patel directed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to be strict and stringent in maintaining public safety and hygiene. Court also asked the civic body to be prompt in taking action against any violations.
"As regard housing societies, while we do not completely restrain the granting of permissions, we will direct that no permissions should be granted if the applicant society is located within a reasonable one-kilometre walking distance from a community space for slaughtering (including a religious slaughtering space),” the court said.
The dispute before the court was pertaining to the policy for granting temporary permission for slaughtering sheeps/goats for festivals, special occasions etc.
Senior Advocate Rajani Iyer appearing for the petitioner pointed out the permissions granted by MCGM for slaughtering of sheeps/goats during Bakr-Eid on August 12, 2019. The said temporary permissions granted by MCGM are as per the guidelines under Section 403(2)(e) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1988, read with Section 403(1)(b).
Objective of the policy is to give temporary No Objection Certificate for slaughtering of small animals i.e. Goat and Sheep at specific locations for religious purpose as per provisions of MMC Act 1888, section 403(1)(b) and 403(2)(b) respectively. The places for slaughtering are predecided and designated by the MCGM.
As per the said policy, "All places near railway station, bus stands, auto rickshaw stand, Taxi stand, Educational Institution, Hospitals, places of high footfall, government administrative premises, VIP places and of heavy vehicular traffic will not be allowed for any slaughtering. Proposed place for slaughter shall not be adjacent to or in front of any religious place of other faiths."
Court noted that apart from the existing abattoirs, of non-vegetarian or meat markets, there are some 58 such markets. The second broad category is community spaces (or religious places such as Masjids). In this category we will also include all religious slaughtering spaces though none have been specifically identified for us today, the court said.
The third category is of cooperative societies which are proposing slaughter in the open spaces of their compound areas. The fourth place for slaughtering is supposedly individual flats.
The Bench observed: “In our view, the requirements of public safety, hygienic and sanitation make it impossible to accept any policy that permits slaughtering inside individual flats. The reasons suggest themselves. In a city that is as densely crowded and congested as Mumbai and where typical residential apartments are small, we do not believe it is possible to make effective arrangements for human, hygienic and safe methods of sacrificial slaughter within a residential flat. Many of these flats are homes for the very old or the very young (or both) and our concern is about the health, hygienic and safety of all. We believe these concerns override all others. Therefore, the MCGM is prohibited and restrained from accepting or granting permissions of slaughter inside any individual flat. It will not matter whether the application is made by an individual, a family or a group of individuals. We restrain all slaughtering within residential flats or accommodations."
The matter will be next heard on August 14, 2019.