Choice of food, trade is right to life: Allahabad HC tells UP govt

Allahabad HC said that various food habits had flourished in UP, and these were an essential part of the state's secular culture.

Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court has given the Yogi Adityanath government in UP 10 days to draw up a plan so that its crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses does not deprive people of their choice of food or livelihood. The court’s Lucknow bench said on Monday that choice of food and trade in foodstuff are a part of right to life, an observation that comes amid closure of most of UP’s meat shops and non-vegetarian food joints to protest alleged harassment by officials.

UP’s meat industry is worth Rs 15,000 crore and employs 15 lakh people. The court, while responding to a petition filed by a meat seller, said that various food habits had flourished in UP, the country’s biggest meat producer, and these were an essential part of the state’s secular culture. The petitioner has sought directions for the government to renew his meat shop licence because the delay was preventing him from carrying out his trade. Many establishments have alleged that they were shut despite their applications for licence renewal pending with the government.

Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Sanjay Harkauli said, “An immediate check on unlawful activity should be on simultaneous with facilitating the lawful activities, particularly those relating to food, food habits and vending that are undisputedly connected with the right to life and livelihood.”

The court noted that food that is integral to health cannot be treated as a wrong choice, and that it was the duty of the state to ensure supply of healthy foodstuff.

UP tells HC: No plan to ban meat consumption
Government counsel Dheeraj Srivastava said that a meeting would be convened shortly under the chairmanship of the chief secretary to decide on the issue of illegal slaughterhouses.

UP has 38 legal slaughterhouses, which mostly export meat. There are about 10,000 illegal slaughterhouses (small and big) across UP that cater to domestic demand for goat and buffalo meat.

The government told the court that there was no plan to ban consumption of meat or to close all slaughterhouses. The intention was to ban illegal ones and regulate their functioning in keeping with a Supreme Court order, it said.

The court clubbed with the current plea all petitions filed before the Lucknow bench against the crackdown. The case will now be heard on April 13.

A day after he was sworn in, CM Yogi Adityanath ordered a clampdown on unauthorised slaughterhouses in the state. The decision forced closure of several food joints, and meat traders went on strike to protest alleged harassment by officials. Though the strike was partially called off on Sunday, non-vegetarian joints in most parts of the state have remained closed demanding that the issue be resolved.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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