The Supreme Court said on Friday that the Right to Privacy judgment will have “some bearing” in matters related to possession of beef in Maharashtra. The observation comes one day after the apex court declared the Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right under the Constitution.
A bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan observed that Thursday’s judgement from a nine-judge Constitution bench, declaring right to privacy a fundamental right, was important for adjudication on the beef ban.
“Yes, that judgement will have some bearing in these matters,” the bench said.
On Thursday, the nine-judge bench had stated that the Right to Privacy was protected under the Constitution. In the judgement Justice J Chelameswar had observed, “I do not think that anybody would like to be told by the State as to what they should eat or how they should dress or whom they should be associated with either in their personal, social or political life. Freedom of social and political association is guaranteed to citizens under Article 19(1)(c),”
The issue came up when Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, representing an NGO challenged the correctness of the seven-judge bench decision in State Of Gujarat vs Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab.
“There are other larger issues than privacy which I am raising. I have sought reconsideration of Mirzapur’s judgement. So this has to be heard by a larger bench,” she said seeking the constitution of a nine-judge bench. Only a larger bench can overrule the decision of a smaller one to decide on this issue.
In 2005, in the State of Gujarat vs Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab Jamat case, a seven-judge Constitution Bench heard a matter pertaining to the complete ban on the slaughter of cow progeny in Gujarat.
By a majority 6:1 verdict, the court observed that there was no infringement to fundamental rights since such a ban is not a prohibition merely a restriction. The court further had observed that the protection of cow progeny was “needed in the interest of the nation’s economy”.
Also appearing in this matter, Senior Advocate CU Singh said that since the privacy judgement was just a day old, and it had far-reaching implications on a host of issues, parties would need more time to assist in this matter.
The top court is also hearing another matter wherein the Maharashtra government has opposed the Bombay High Court’s judgement which decriminalised the possession of beef in the state. The HC had observed that possessing beef slaughtered outside the state was not a crime.
After hearing submissions, the court has issued notice to the relevant authorities and posted the matter for further consideration after two weeks. Several pending appeals which are similar in issue have also been tagged together.