Recently, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court observed that food, food habits as well as food vending is linked to the right to life and therefore, the state must not curb them. This observation came while hearing a petition filed by an owner of a meat shop. 

 

The meat shop owner from Kheri filed the petition to appeal for renewing his licence amidst UP government’s crackdown of illegal meat shops and slaughterhouses, reported a leading daily. The bench expressed concern over the crackdown without any consideration to the renewal of licences. 

 

The bench also reminded the newly formed state government that it should not lose the sight of balance of ‘competing rights under the secular umbrella of the Constitution’. The court also directed the high-powered committee formed by the government to deliberate on April 10 over the issue to resolve the controversy that is slowly spreading across the country. 

 

On April 13, the government is asked to inform the court about the deliberation and the outcome. The court also asked the government to brief about the committee’s decision to deliberate about the matter related to granting and renewing of licences of the meat shops and slaughterhouses.  

 

"Food that is conducive to health cannot be treated as a wrong choice and it is for this reason that provisions are obligated on the state to be made available for maintaining the requirement of supply of healthy foodstuff", the bench observed.

 

Early this week, this bench comprising Justice A P Sahi and Justice Sanjai Harkauli examined the legal and constitutional provisions regarding the issue and concluded that Article 21 of Indian Constitution extends the right to life to every citizen.

 

Meanwhile, the UP state government said the intention is not to ban the consumption of meat but to regulate them as under the guidelines of Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal. 

 

In the recent past, there have been multiple incidents of violence related to the supposed ban or regulation. Self-styled gau rakshaks have emerged not only in UP but also in other states leading to fear and confusion among masses. Earlier this week in Alwar, Rajasthan a mob attacked 15 men transporting cows that they bought on vehicles. One of them later succumbed to his injuries. Also, today two persons were arrested and a minor was apprehended and booked under the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950 for possessing beef.