The Bombay High Court has directed the Municipal Corporation to make a Grievance Forum available to the complainants or citizens by way of an e-mail for the purpose of dealing with the issue of illegal animal slaughter.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Sandeep V. Marne said, “As regards the complaints/grievances raised by the citizens are concerned, learned Senior Advocate for the Municipal Corporation states that public notice in newspaper is put up giving a toll-free number for lodging complaints. In addition, we direct that the Municipal Corporation should also make the Grievance Forum available to complainants/citizens by way of an email.”

The Court further observed that the policy, e-mail address, and toll-free numbers also shall be prominently displayed on the website of the Municipal Corporation, at least for the concerned period.

Advocates Siddh Vidya and Shalaka Parkar appeared for the petitioner while Senior Advocate Anil Sakhare, Govt. Pleader P.H. Kantharia, Advocates Advait Sethna, Jaya Bagwe, Abdul Kadar Lokhandwala, and Zain Khan appeared for the respondents.

In this matter, a petition was filed in the year 2018 challenging the public notices issued by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai in respect of the animals sacrificed/slaughtered. Various orders were passed since the year 2018 and the Division Bench observed that the Municipal Corporation should frame a comprehensive regulatory mechanism/policy so that religious festivals/events where such animals’ sacrifice/slaughtering takes place, can be regulated in an orderly manner keeping in view the mandate of law and local conditions of the city.

The counsel for the Municipal Corporation stated that all parties to the petition were free to give suggestions to it for framing the said policy. Thereafter, an order was passed in 2019 wherein it was expected that the Municipal Corporation would maintain all applicable safety, hygiene public safety norms. Subsequently, a policy was framed to grant temporary NOC for the slaughtering of animals on the occasion of any festival or ceremony or such circumstances. The policy referred to the orders passed by the court which came into force in 2019 but as per the petitioner, there was no policy in force currently.

The High Court after considering the submissions made by the counsel noted, “As regards the legal challenges sought to be raised by the Petitioner, we issue Rule in this petition. Respondents waive service. Respondents who have not filed reply, shall do so.”

The Court further noted that as regards the position in the meanwhile is concerned, the policy is already in place and it is being modified from time to time as per the requirement.

“The Municipal Corporation is also governed by various statutory provisions. Therefore, the applications received by the Municipal Corporation would be dealt with as per the policy framed and in existence, as modified from time to time. … The learned Senior Advocate states that once complaints are received on the helpline, email etc. specific task force would be available 24 x 7 to redress the issue”, directed the Court.

Accordingly, the Court issued necessary directions.

Cause Title- JIV Maitri Trust v. Union of India & Ors.

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