A division bench comprising Justice V M Kanade and Justice M S Sonak gave the verdict in a bunch of PILs challenging the state government's move to ban sale and consumption of beef, said one of the petitioners, Mutton Butchers Union Sarvashramik Sangh secretary Vijay Dalvi.
"We have opposed the ban as it affects not just the consumers, but also farmers, traders, the leather industry and many other stakeholders. We shall take out a rally in south Mumbai next week to highlight their plight," Dalvi said. [Maharashtra beef ban: Slaughter ban only on cows and bulls, says CM Devendra Fadnavis]
Early March, after President Pranab Mukherjee granted assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, the state government banned sale or possession of beef with stringent penalties.
The slaughter of cows had already been prohibited in the state under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976. [Don't make beef ban a "religious and prestige issue", says Bombay high court]
The new Act goes a step further by banning slaughter of bulls and bullocks, which was previously permitted on a fit-for-slaughter certificate.
Under the new act, only slaughter of water buffaloes, which yields Carabeef, considered an inferior quality meat, has been allowed.
Beef traders have contended that the move to ban beef in the state will render thousands of people in the trade unemployed and also hike the cost of other non-vegetarian products like mutton, chicken, and fish.