The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court has observed that food, food habits and vending of food is intrinsically linked to the right to life and livelihood guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, reported Live Law.
Keeping in mind the secular culture of the state, the Court observed that food habits in Uttar Pradesh have evolved, expanded, and form a significant part of the way of life that is common to all sections of the society.
The Court was considering a writ petition filed by a small retail meat shop owner in Kehri, who wished to renew his license in light of the Yogi Adityanath-led government's action against illegal slaughterhouses.
While the state government has argued that the action is only against illegal slaughterhouses and to bring regulation into the industry, the Court decreed:
Compliance of law should not end in deprivation, the cause whereof may be attributable to the inaction of the State Government.
The court added that:
The inaction of the State Government in the past should not be a shield for imposing a state of almost prohibition.
The court observed that the government's action will affect the livelihood of those involved in the industry, and will impinge on their fundamental rights under the Constitution.
The Ban Affects Private Life of Individuals
The division bench also observed that the ban affects life in general, especially customers who wish to consume such food, but are being deprived.
It was of the opinion that if a ban is imposed to check an unlawful activity, simultaneous provisions should be made to carry out the activity lawfully – especially activities relating to food, food habits and vending.
The court further added that rural and urban markets function differently and need to be regulated by local laws.
The court has asked the state government to intervene immediately and deliberate on the matter to resolve the issue. It argued that several of these issues are interconnected and impinge upon the rights of consumers and public at large, other than the trade and profession of those involved in the industry.
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