In Uttar Pradesh, since the recent election, there has been an enormous crack down on the closure of illegal meat stalls. Many people have been under extreme discomfort due to this virtual ban of meat. Not to mention the discomfort of the meat shop owners, some of whom, do have a license to sell.
In a landmark ruling, the Allahabad high court has said that choice of food and trade were part of the right to life and gave the UP government 10 days to draw up a plan so that its crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses and meat shops didn’t deprive people of their livelihood or food.
This was in response to a petition of a trader who sought directions for the government to renew his meat shop licence because the delay was preventing him from carrying on his trade. The court’s Lucknow bench also said various food habits had flourished in Uttar Pradesh which form an essential part of the state’s secular culture.
The focus on cow smuggling and consumption of cattle meat has risen since the BJP rose to power in 2014. The issue has again returned to spotlight after the new Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath clamped down on illegal slaughterhouses and cattle smuggling last month.
A copy of the court order stated that food that is conducive to health cannot be treated as a wrong choice and that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure the supply of heathy food items. In response, the state government told the court that there was no plan to ban the consumption of meat or to close all slaughterhouses. The intention was to ban illegal slaughter houses and regulate their functioning in keeping with a Supreme Court order, it said.
The court agreed, saying the government had not banned the sale of meat. It had only barred illegal meat sellers while permitting licensed slaughterhouses to run. However, there has been a delay in renewal of licences and approvals needed by shop owners who have been shut down. Is this just another way of implementing the meat ban or are these delays genuine? What do you think?