Asks J&K HC To Form 3 Judge Bench to Find Solution
New Delhi: An order enforcing a decades-old ban on the sale of beef in Jammu and Kashmir, which had sparked protests in the state, has been suspended by the Supreme Court for two months.
The SC suspended the HC order upon hearing a plea filed by the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government. Advocate Amarendra Sharan, who is representing the state government, had highlighted the “inconsistencies” in the high court order as he urged Supreme Court Chief Justice to hear the plea urgently.
The Jammu bench of the state High Court had last month directed the police to enforce an old law banning the slaughter and sale of beef in the state. A week later, the high court’s Srinagar bench issued notice to the state on a petition that asked for the ban to be cancelled.
The bench of Chief Justice of India HL Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy asked the chief justice of Jammu & Kashmir High Court to constitute a three-judge panel to examine the validity of provisions under the 150-year-old Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).
“We have two conflicting orders and it is required to be solved by the Chief Justice of high court by constituting a three judge bench,” said the Chief Justice of India.
The state government had moved the Supreme Court seeking clarity. “The high court’s two conflicting orders have grave ramifications for the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir as the orders are being misused and interpreted in a manner so as to disturb peace in the state,” the government said.
The order asking the police to enforce the beef ban led to fierce protests in the state and forced a three-day internet shutdown during the Eid festival.
J&K is the first state where cow slaughter and sale of beef is prohibited since 1896 under laws passed by the then Dogra Maharaja of the state. The law was adopted by Constituent Assembly of the state after 1947 with amendments in the penalty. Under section 298A of the RPC, killing or slaughtering a cow intentionally or like animal (including ox and buffalo) is a cognizable, non-bailable offence punishable with 10 years imprisonment and fine. Its section 298B says possessing the flesh such an animal is a cognizable, non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment of one year and a fine.
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