The Madras High Court defended the rights of Indians to eat non-vegetarian in strong terms. (Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons) Photograph: (Others)
'...The contention of the petitioner that eating beef is an offence cannot be accepted'
The Madras High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to permit the authorities to remove shops run by Muslims and other religions near Palane Temple Hills Girivala pathai, Janta Ka Reporter reports.
The petitioner claimed that disharmony was caused because people in the shops were eating beef and insulting the devotees' religious faith.
Further, the petitioner claimed that merely crossing the shops in the vicinity of the temple made devotees uncomfortable, as the shops belonged to Muslims and people of other religions, where they "indiscriminately" ate beef and other meats.
The Bench of Justices S Manikumar and CT Selvam dismissed these contentions strongly: "Contention of the petitioner that the temple property adjacent to Girivalathapathai, are occupied by people belonging to Islam and other religion is unsubstantiated, by even a scrap of paper. The petitioner has not substantiated that people belonging to another religion cannot have any shops in the property.
"The other contention that the occupants of the shops indiscriminately eat beef and other non vegetarian food, by sitting in the stairs of the Palani Hills and insulting the religious faith of Hindus and if the same is not eventually checked, it would lead to disharmony, is not supported by any evidence. The further contention that by eating non-vegetarian food they have created discomfort to Hindu devotees also not substantiated."
Addressing the subect of the Indian Penal Code on eating beef in general, the Madras High Court stated unequivocally: "Nowhere in the Indian penal code is it stated that eating non-vegetarian food is an offence. There is no law touching eating haits of any religion and in such a view of the matter, the contention of the petitioner that eating beef is an offence cannot be accepted."