Udhampur: Lawyers on Friday staged a rally and stayed away from courts in protest against the high court order banning sale of beef in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir.
Hundreds of lawyers assembled in the high court premise soon after the Fridayprayers and took out the rally up to the court’s main gate where police was deployed in advance to prevent them from moving outside it.
Addressing the protesting lawyers, Kashmir High Court Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom termed the ban on sale of beef as interference in religious affairs.
“People have a right to preach, practice and propagate the religion and to eat whatever is Halal and permissible as per Shariat,” said Qayoom.
He said that Section 298-A and 298–B of RPC, banning slaughtering of cow and other bovine animals, was unconstitutional and goes against the tenets of Islam.
“It is outdated law and needs to be deleted. The government should act swiftly to do away with it,” he said and reiterated that the lawyer’s body will fight the ban “with all its might and determination.”
“We will file a Public Interest Litigation in High Court and will move an application for arraying as interveners in the petition seeking the ban on the beef”.
Qayoom also questioned government for not imposing a ban on the sale of alcohol when every religion is prohibiting it. “Liquor outlets are open and nobody is willing to close them down,” he said.
Addressing the protesting lawyers, Advocate G N Shaheen said the legislation was passed during the Dogra regime but unfortunately continues to subsist on stature book even after 1947.
“This legislation is on statue books since 1938 which was passed by then Maharaja who was a Hindu but it was not implemented on the ground till 1947. It is an outdated law and has no essence after 1947 because even Indian constitution provides for religious freedom which not only allows promoting and propagating religious but practice also it,” he said.
He claimed that the HC judges have committed a ‘grave error’ by not taking into account what he said the sensitivities of the issue.
“They should have put to notice the stakeholder, which is the majority community, and therefore it was incumbent upon the judges to put Muslims to notice under order 1 rule 8 of the CPC (Civil Procedure Code),” he said
Shaheen, the former general secretary of the bar, also accused state of “deliberately and intentional” failing to respond to the notices issued by the court before passing the ex-party order.
“Whatever be the course, our religious faith cannot be decided by the courts. We will not be bound by the statute or the HC order because it is against social norm. What actually is the law? It is reflection of the social norm,” Shaheen said. “It is unconstitutional legislation and state legislature should do away with RPC section and cow slaughter act. Ii actually should have been done already but exists only since it is not agitated by the Hindu fundamentalists,” he said.
He also urged all Muslims to sacrifice cow and like animals on ensuing Eid-ul-Azha.
The former Bar President Nazir Ahmad Ronga said the PIL was communally motivated “otherwise the aggrieved petitioner could have approached the concerned authorities when there was already a law existing.”