Bombay-high-court
Bombay-high-court

Mumbai: Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court was informed that a modern 'state of the art' slaughterhouse would be constructed in Navi Mumbai. However, the plan is stuck over a 'confusion' on whether the plot allotted for this modern abattoir comes under a reserved forest.

The HC accordingly sought a response from the Maharashtra government's forest department to clarify if the allotted land is a reserved forest.

A bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Riyaz Chagla also sought to know from the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) on how would it provide services of the veterinary hospital, dog control centre, and animal incinerator, amongst others, along with the abattoir.

This comes after the NMMC counsel apprised the bench that the abattoir would be constructed on a land measuring 85169.28 square metres, located at Shiravane, Nerul.

The counsel further said that the project has been planned in a manner that along with the 'state of the art slaughterhouse' the plot would also be used for other purposes, namely, veterinary hospital, dog control centre, and animal incinerator.

Answering the bench's query, the counsel said that since these are uses which are consistent or in consonance with the object and purpose of allotment, there is no inconsistency with regard to the user of the land.

During the course of the hearing, the bench further asked whether the NMMC has conducted any study or research prior to this proposal.

“If there is a concern for public health and public safety and equally, the health of animals, plot for slaughter, concern for hygienic surrounding, then, it may be that the slaughter of animals in close vicinity of veterinary hospital, would adversely affect the health of the admitted and treated animals,” Justice Dharmadhikari observed.

Subsequently, the bench was informed about the confusion whether the land is a reserved forest or not. Accordingly, the bench ordered the department of revenue and forest to clarify. The bench also ordered the NMMC to spell on an affidavit how much time would it require to complete the project.

Meanwhile, activist Ajay Marathe's counsel submitted that the mandatory rules of animal welfare are not being followed at the Deonar Abattoir in Mumbai.

The counsel claimed that by rules only 96 animals could be slaughtered on a given day, but at a time over 2000 are slaughtered on the premises.

Having heard the submission, Justice Dharmadhikari suggested Marathe to personally visit and inspect the functioning of the abattoir for a few days and submit his report.

“If the fitness certificate is issued mechanically or in a stereo-type manner, without adherence to the rules, then Marathe can lodge a complaint, which would have to be addressed by the BMC's health department officials or the higher-ups in the hierarchy. They will have to take strict action against those breaching the rules,” Justice Dharmadhikari ordered.

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