SC puts beef ban order on hold for 2 months

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday suspended for two months a J&K high court order asking state authorities to enforce a Dogra-era law criminalising bovine slaughter and sale and possession of beef in the Muslim-majority state.
While ordering to keep in abeyance the September 8 order by the high court’s Jammu wing, a division bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy also asked the Chief Justice of the J&K high court to set up a three-judge bench to decide on the two conflicting orders regarding two writ petitions in the issue.
Asking the apex court registry to intimate its J&K counterpart about the order “forthwith”, the court said the Chief Justice of the high court would be at liberty to decide the place where the larger bench will hear, and decide together, the two writ petitions.
The bench disposed of the special leave petition filed by the state government, which had said the inconsistent views of the two benches of the high court were being “misused to disturb peace and communal harmony in the state”.
While a division bench of the high court at Jammu ordered enforcement of the beef ban law, a bench at Srinagar issued a notice to the government on a petition seeking the court’s direction to abrogate the legislation.
The government had requested the SC to “ensure that there is uniformity and consistency in the judicial pronouncements and there is no scope to exploit the present situation by disrupting communal harmony, amity and peace in the state.”
The government had also asked the apex court to decide the matter itself or set up an HC bench to settle the “contentious” orders.
“There is a realistic possibility of the HC delivering two judgments, mutually contradictory, since two separate benches are seized of the respective petitions,” the state had said.