The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation banned the sale of meat, fish, and eggs on main roads and within 100 metres of schools, colleges, and educational institutions on November 15th. Similar limitations have been imposed by the municipal governments of three other Gujarat cities. This restriction is not new; for a long time, what Indians are allowed to consume has been a point of contention. Though the argument was limited to limitations on cow and cattle slaughter and the prohibition of meat during specific festivals, the display of non-vegetarian food has already been outlawed in three Gujarat cities.
The then Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced Gujarat to be a "vegetarian state" in his 2017 Budget speech. Gujarat, contrary to popular belief, is not primarily a vegetarian state. Two out of every five people in Gujarat are non-vegetarians. According to the Registrar General of India's Sample Registration System (SRS) baseline survey 2014, 40 percent is non-vegetarian. Gujarat has a 1,250-kilometer-long coastline and a long history of trade with the rest of the globe. The tribal area is then to the east. As a dispute erupts in Gujarat over non-vegetarian food stalls, the truth is that tribals, fishermen along the coast, and people in central Gujarat have quite different eating patterns. Similarly, the fertile south of Gujarat has quite different eating habits than the dry and arid north.
The cow slaughter laws of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh were challenged in 1958 on the grounds that they violated Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution's right to carry on trade or occupation, as well as Article 25 of the Constitution's right to exercise religion. Following this challenge, the Court approved the slaughter of bulls, bullocks, and buffaloes when they no longer served a useful purpose, such as reproducing, delivering milk, or being useful in agriculture. It did, however, uphold the ban on slaughtering all cows, whether or not they were useful. The court took special care to consider the dietary needs of Indians in its decision. The court ruled that eating beef and buffalo flesh was a "necessity" for "a considerable section of the impoverished people." As a result, bovine slaughter was permitted.
The right to privacy (Article 21) was declared a fundamental right by a nine-judge Supreme Court bench in 2017. The concept of privacy has broadened to include "food preferences and animal killing," according to the court. A petition to ban Halal meat was filed in 2020, claiming that it was painful to the animals. The court threw out the petition because it couldn't tell who is a vegetarian or who isn't.
Gujarat's reputation as a vegetarian state, according to sociologists and historians, is a hoax. Gujarat is also a big fish producer, accounting for 17% of all marine products in the country. Fish is a major source of income for the Kharwa and Koli OBC populations of Saurashtra and South Gujarat. However, fish eaters in Ahmedabad, who rely on fish served by government-supported Gujarat Fisheries Central Co-operative Association Ltd. mobile vans, are concerned.
Therefore, the ban on non-vegetarian at roadside stalls from 15th November in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar and the order that food containing meat and eggs should not be displayed on main roads and within a 100-metre radius of schools, colleges and religious places is quite a controversial order as the right to religious practices and the right to life (right to privacy) is involved and the Supreme Court in the past few decades has taken different stands in similar matters.
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