New Delhi: Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to hear a plea by Jammu and Kashmir government against two “conflicting” orders of the High Court pertaining to the slaughter of bovine animals and enforcement of a bar on beef sale in the state on Monday, claiming the orders were being “misused” to disturb peace and communal harmony.
While the Jammu bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ordered enforcement of the bar on the sale of beef in the state under the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), the Srinagar bench has agreed to hear a separate plea seeking scrapping of the provision that bars slaughter of bovine animals.
Highlighting the inconsistency in the two orders, senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, appearing for the state government, mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu and sought an urgent hearing.
“List it on Monday,” the bench, which also comprised Justice Arun Mishra, said.
“Vide impugned orders of Jammu & Srinagar Benches of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court… have passed two mutually conflicting orders which have grave ramifications for the law and order situation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir as the orders are being misused and interpreted in a manner so as to disturb the peaceful fabric of the State,” the state government said in its petition before the apex court.
The state said the apex court should “ensure that there is uniformity and consistency in the judicial pronouncements and there is no scope to exploit the present situation by disrupting communal harmony, amity and peace in the state and thereto alienating the people of the State from national mainstream.”
The High Court’s Jammu bench had on 8 September directed the police to enforce the provision under the RPC barring sale of beef in the state.
“Let appropriate response be filed by the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir/Jammu in terms of order dated 22.07.2015.
“The Director General of Police in the meantime is directed to ensure that appropriate directions are issued to all the SSPs/SPs, SHOs of various police districts so that there is no sale of beef anywhere in the State of J&K and strict action is taken in accordance with the law against those who indulge in it,” the Jammu bench had said.
On the other hand, the Srinagar bench, on 16 September, issued notice on a plea that had sought striking down of the RPC provision banning slaughter of bovine animals.
It was alleged in the plea before the Srinagar bench that the RPC provision was “ultra-vires” as the bar constituted an “unreasonable infringement” on the fundamental rights of citizens.
The Srinagar bench had also said that the pendency of the plea before it will not operate “as a bar” if the state wants to do away with the provision.
“…We would like to make it clear that if the State or Legislature contemplates or takes steps for scrapping or amending the provisions as are under challenge, the pendency of this writ petition shall not operate as a bar,” it had said.