How right to privacy is linked to beef debate in Maharashtra

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In Maharashtra, the debate around beef revolves around the right to privacy and not only on religious beliefs. Privacy is not a matter connected to Aadhaar alone and sections of Maharashtra's beef ban prove that.

How right to privacy is linked to beef debate in Maharashtra

Section 5D of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, allows police to stop a person or enter anyone's house and carry out searches if beef is suspected to be stored. Do you think it is a violation of your privacy? The Maharashtra government does not. Those accused of possessing beef can prove their innocence under 9B of the same law. Both laws were struck down by the Bombay high court in 2016. Now, the government has sought the Supreme Court's intervention.

Sections of Maharashtra's beef ban law were held in violation of the right to privacy and hence struck down. However, the debate has continued with Supreme Court yet to decide on whether privacy is a fundamental right. When the sections were struck down, the Maharashtra government claimed that the Bombay High Court had "quashed the sections erroneously by holding privacy a fundamental right". Maharashtra government cited the ongoing debate on privacy over Aadhaar to claim that privacy had not been declared a fundamental right at the time of the Bombay High Court's judgement.

At a time when the country is debating about food, clothing being a matter of personal choice, the Maharashtra government is hoping to use the lack of 'fundamental right' status to privacy to decide what food goes on people's tables and plates.

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