17/09/2015 3:01 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Meat Ban: Have To Uphold Spirit Of Tolerance, Says Supreme Court

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
MUMBAI, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Mumbai's mutton traders shut down the shops as four-day meat ban began due to Jain holy festival of Paryushan on September 10, 2015 in Mumbai, India. Earlier this week, the BMC imposed a ban on sale of meat on four days of the Paryushan festival, while the adjoining Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation in Thane had declared a complete ban during September 11-18. (Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea filed against a Bombay High Court order staying the decision to ban the sale of meat in Mumbai during an important Jain festival, saying that there has to a spirit of tolerance.

While the bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and Kurian Joseph refused to interfere with the Bombay High Court order, it allowed petitioner Shree Tapagachiya Atma Kamal Labhdisuriswarji Gyanmandir Trust, a trust of minority Jains, to approach the Bombay High Court with its grievances, according to PTI.

"There has to be the spirit of tolerance and anything should not be thrust on a particular class," the Bench said. One of the judges recited a couplet from a poem of Kabir and said that even good teaching cannot be forced upon others.

"These are not issues forced down the throat of anyone," the court said.

When the counsel for the petitioner said that compassion towards animals have been a part of good teachings, the court responded: "Compassion towards animals does not have to be observed on festival days only." The bench said spirit of tolerance has to be inculcated in society through reform and in a subtle way."

"We make it clear that we have not made any observations on the merits of the case. It would be open for the petitioner to approach the high court which would decide the plea within a period of six months. Petition is dismissed as withdrawn," the bench said.

The Bombay High Court had on September 14 stayed the ban on sale of meat for today in Mumbai imposed in the wake of Jain community's 'Paryushan' fasting period, PTI reported.

The court had, while clarifying that the stay will be limited to the Mumbai jurisdiction area, refused to interfere with the ban on slaughter of meat and closure of abattoirs.

The high court had also observed that though the Maharashtra government issued a circular in 2004 banning meat sale on two days, it was never implemented fully, adding that there has been inconsistency in the stands of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the state government.

The HC had also queried as to why fish and eggs were excluded from the ban, saying, "If it is a question of practice of non-violence by the Jain community, then why only mutton and chicken have been included in the ban and not fish and eggs?"

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Last week, the ban was reduced from four days to only one more day by Mumbai's civic body. But the Shiv Sena, which controls the civic body, had opposed the ban, reported NDTV.

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