Mumbai: In a city like Mumbai, there is no question of religion or community and instead, public health is the priority, observed the Bombay High Court on Monday.
The HC made this observation while reserving its orders in petitions seeking prohibition on slaughtering of animals outside abattoirs during the forthcoming Bakri-Eid.
A bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel was seized with a bunch of petitions by Jiv Maitri Trust and other NGOs opposing the city civic body’s policy for permitting slaughtering of animals (goats and sheep) at housing societies and market places.
As per the new policy, which has been enforced from August 1, the civic body has decided to grant ‘no objection certificates’ for slaughtering animals in their housing societies or flats or community halls.
The NGOs through senior counsel Rajni Iyer opposed this decision claiming the temporary no-objection to slaughter animals in public places are in violation of the Food Safety and Standards Act and also the protection of animal and environments laws.
In her submissions, Iyer stressed on the 58 sites, notified by the civic authorities where the slaughtering of animals have been permitted. “Of these 58 sites five are near the Terminals 1 and 2 of the city’s airport. This is against the aircraft rules,” Iyer argued.
“The civic body has also ignored public health and hygiene which is the major provision of food safety standard laws,” Iyer pointed out. At this, the bench summoned senior counsel Anil Sakhre, appearing for the civic body to spell out their preparedness for the Bakri-Eid festival.
“We have granted permissions to around 70 to 80 housing societies to slaughter animals on their premises but in an enclosure. They have also been directed to ensure hygiene and proper disposal of the carcass,” Sakhre submitted.
The civic body counsel further told the judges that at least 300 separate vehicles would be deployed to collect the waste after slaughtering. He also apprised the bench that the civic body would not be accepting some of the suggestions of the Jiv Maitri Trust as they are not ‘workable.’
“We cannot implement or accept suggestions that animals must be slaughtered only inside the Deonar abattoir as firstly there are lakhs of animals to be sacrificed and then this is a sensitive issue pertaining to religious sentiments,” Sakhre submitted.
The bench interrupted the submissions saying, “We are only concerned with the measures you (civic body) take for ensuring public health at markets and societies, which are notified to slaughter animals. Also tell us what the safety measures to ensure your own staff is safe while dealing with the animal’s waste?”
To this, Sakhre again made an attempt to highlight the ‘religious’ sensitivity of the issue, however, Justice Patel interrupted him again.