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HC to pronounce verdict on Maharashtras beef ban tomorrow

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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court will pronounce the judgement on a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the beef ban in Maharashtra tomorrow. A division bench of Justices A S Oka and S C Gupte had reserved the ruling in January after hearing the arguments. In February 2015, the President granted assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act. While the original 1976 Act banned slaughter of cows, the amendment prohibited, in addition, slaughter of bulls and bullocks and possession and consumption of their meat. As per the Act, slaughter attracts a five-year jail-term and Rs 10,000 fine while possession of meat of bull or bullock attracts one-year in jail and Rs 2,000 fine. During the hearing, the HC had refused to grant interim stay to the provisions penalising the possession of beef. Arif Kapadia, a city resident, and noted lawyer Harish Jagtiani have challenged the provision which says mere possession of beef anywhere in the state is a crime. This is arbitrary and undermines the cosmopolitan nature of the city which houses people from all religions and communities, they contend. Other petitions have been filed by Vishal Sheth, a lawyer, and Shaina Sen, a student, contending that the ban on beef violates fundamental rights of citizens. PTI

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