P&H HC Stays Order Directing Closure of Meat Shops in Ambala on Account of Jain Festival

punjab and haryana high court Law Insider

Sowmiya Rajendrakumar

Published on: 25 August, 2022 at 19:12 IST

The orders passed by State authorities directing the closure of meat shops and slaughterhouses in Haryana’s Ambala district for nine days owing to the Jain festival of Paryushana, was stayed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court on Wednesday [Rajpal Poultry Farm v State of Haryana].

Justice Sudhir Mittal sought the State’s response on the petition which challenged the orders for being violative of the Constitution, and stayed their operation in the meanwhile.

“Meanwhile, operation of communications (Annexures P-3 and P-5) shall remain staved so far as private slaughter houses/meat shops are concerned”, the order read.

The petitioners, who are poultry and a meat shop owner, claimed that the letter of  Haryana’s Director of Urban & Local Bodies requesting Deputy Commissioner’s to call for such closure was without legal backing and arbitrary. The plea raised the issue of the competence of this administrative action.

The petitioners also placed reliance on the case of Bombay Mutton Dealer Association v State of Maharashtra to submit that private slaughterhouses and meat shops could not be asked to close down during the festival since this would affect the constitutional rights of the general public as well as the petitioners rights to carry on their trade, business or vocation.

The Bombay High Court, in this case, had emphasized that merely to appease one section of the society, personal dietary choices of the public at large should not be affected.

“The impugned letter ostensibly targets and attacks meat shops and slaughter houses but in essence and substance actually targets individual liberty and right to privacy of end use customers of meat and meat products”, petition said.

The plea stated that the Director’s letter was merely an eye wash for political appeasement, and had no rationale nexus with the object sought to be achieved.

“The impugned letter arbitrarily classifies between slaughterhouses and meat shops on the one hand, and various restaurants, meal joints and food hubs on the other so as to prohibit meat only in the former and not in the latter”, the petition further said.

Relying on these grounds, the petitioners sought quashing of the letters. The Court will hear the case next on August 29, 2022.

Senior Advocate Akshay Bhan along with Advocates Amandeep Singh Talwar and Abhijeet Singh Rawaley appeared for the petitioners.

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