'Restrain Yourself From Eating': Guj HC Tells Petitioners Challenging Slaughterhouse Closure

The petitioner, who had challenged the Ahmedabad civic body's decision to close the lone slaughterhouse in the city during a Jain festival, said that the issue was not about 'restraining' but fundamental rights.

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New Delhi: The Gujarat high court has told petitioners who had moved against the closure of their Ahmedabad slaughterhouse during a Jain festival that they can “restrain” themselves “for one or two days” from eating meat.

The Kul Hind Jamiat-Al Quresh Action Committee Gujarat had moved high court, seeking a reversal of the decision by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, to close down the only slaughterhouse within its limits for the duration of the festival, LiveLaw has reported.

The Corporation’s standing committee, in a resolution on August 18, ordered the slaughterhouse to remain closed during the Paryushan Parv between August 24 and 31, and for associated festivities on September 5 and 9, Indian Express has reported. Thus, the total number of days the slaughterhouse would need to be closed for is 13.

The court bench, of Justice Sandeep Bhatt, appeared to chastise the petitioner for having approached it. He also denied them any interim relief and adjourned the matter to September 2.

“Why you are running at the last moment, we will not entertain this. Every season you rush to the court. You can restrain yourself for one day or two days from eating [meat],” he said, according to LiveLaw.

The Committee, represented by Danish Qureshi Razawala, noted in response that their argument was not about whether restraint could be observed but about fundamental rights.

“It is not about restraining, it’s about fundamental rights of the citizens and we cannot imagine our country with even one minute of restraining of our fundamental rights. On other previous occasions also slaughterhouses were closed,” Razawala said.

The petitioners also noted that in December 2021, the same high court had asked the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to not “control the food habits” of people.

At that time, Justice Biren Vaishnav, hearing a plea filed by 20 street vendors challenging the non-implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, had come down heavily on the AMC for prohibiting street vendors selling non-vegetarian food.

“You don’t like non-veg food, it is your lookout. How can you decide what people should eat outside? How can you stop people from eating what they want,” the bench had asked.

Most of the street vendors involved in the case run carts that sell eggs and cook eggs for customers. Some others also sold cooked non-vegetarian food; a few sold fruits and vegetables.