“You can restrain yourself for one or two days from eating…” remarked Justice Sandeep Bhatt, when a group petitioned before the Gujarat high court against the decision of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to shut its slaughterhouse. The group contended that the closure infringes on the fundamental right to food.
The slaughterhouse would be shut for two periods—from August 24 to August 31 and again between September 5 and 9— first on account of Paryushan and then because of other festivals. There is only one abattoir in the city.
The petitioner, Kul Hind Jamiat-Al Quresh Action Committee, filed a petition through its members Danish Qureshi and Mohammed Hammad Hussain Razaiwala. Razaiwala appeared as party-in-person to argue his case. He said, “It is not about restraining ourselves, but it is about fundamental rights and we cannot imagine our country for a minute restraining fundamental rights. Earlier too, slaughterhouses have been closed, so this process can be curbed for the future.”
He further submitted that on a request by one Jaswantlal Shah, the AMC decided to close the slaughterhouse. A representation against the decision for closure was made to the municipal commissioner. He cited a guideline of the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, which advises the consumption of protein-rich animal food. The petitioner also quoted Article 47 of the Constitution, which directs the state to raise the level of nutrition of people.
The petitioner also submitted that a coordinate bench of the high court had in December 2021 made an oral observation that AMC should not try and control the food habits of people. He further said that the AMC circular was not brought out by following a democratic process that has been laid down in the statutes.
A further hearing has been posted for Friday.