05/04/2017 7:22 PM IST | Updated 05/04/2017 7:59 PM IST

Choice Of Food Undisputedly Connected With The Right To Life, Says Allahabad High Court

The Lucknow Bench said that food habits are an element of the secular culture of Uttar Pradesh.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NOIDA, INDIA - MARCH 28: Biryani sellers facing difficulties to continue their business as meat supplier increased rates of meat, on March 28, 2017 in Noida, India.

In the midst of a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court today linked food, food habits and vending with the right to life, while ruling out a complete prohibition on beef as it affects traders and consumers.

The Allahabad High Court has given the Yogi Adityanath government 10 days to draw up a plan to ensure that the closure of illegal slaughterhouses does not deprive people of livelihood or food, the Hindustan Times reported.

"To provide an immediate check on unlawful activity should be simultaneous with facilitating the carrying of lawful activity, particularly that relating to food, food habits and vending thereof that is undisputedly connected with the right to life and livelihood," the High Court said.

The Lucknow bench of the High Court made this observation in response to a petition of a trader from Lakhimpur Kheri who moved the court because the government's delay in renewing his meat shop license was disrupting his trade, HT reported.

"The compliance of law should not end in deprivation, the cause whereof may be attributable to the inaction of the State. Also, food habits in this state have flourished and are an essential part of life as an element of the secular culture and are undisputedly connected with the right to life and livelihood," the High Court said, Times Nowreported.

'Food, that is, conducive to health cannot be treated as a wrong choice,' it said.

On 27 March, meat sellers had launched an indefinite strike to protest the crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses on the grounds that it was hurting the livelihood of those engaged in the business. The strike was called off on 2 April.

The state government argued that its intention is neither to ban consumption of meat nor to close all slaughterhouses, but rather to close illegal slaughterhouses, Live Lawreported.

A division bench of Justices Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Sanjai Harkauli said, "the inaction of the State Government in the past should not be a shield for imposing a state of almost prohibition."

The full judgment can be read at the Live Law website.

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