Urging the people not to make a "religious and prestige issue" out of the ban on slaughter of cows, bullocks and bulls in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court today refused to grant relief to beef dealers in the city.
The division bench of Justices V M Kanade and A R Joshi said Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, which bans slaughter of bullocks and bulls in addition to that of cows, had come into effect as it had been notified in the official gazette.
"Since the law has come into effect, now the authorities are duty-bound to take action if slaughter is carried out. Please do not make this a religious and prestige issue," Justice Kanade said.
The Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers' Welfare Association had approached the court seeking to intervene in a petition filed by Bhartiya Gauvansh Rakshan Sanvardhan Parishad which has sought enforcement of the new law.
The Association's lawyer had earlier claimed that the new law would come into effect only after it is notified.
The state government today submitted the notification, following which the court said it cannot grant any relief.
Under the new law, which recently received the President's assent, anyone found to be selling beef or possessing it can be jailed for five years and fined Rs 10,000.