NEW DELHI, March 11, 2014 (The Hindu): The Supreme Court has upheld a notification issued by the Rishikesh Municipal Board banning the sale of eggs within the town limits, holding that it was not an unreasonable restriction. A Bench of Justice Shivaraj V. Patil and Justice D. M. Dharmadhikari rejected an appeal by Om Prakash and other traders against a judgment of the Allahabad High Court dismissing a writ petition filed by them challenging the notification banning the sale of eggs.
The appellants had challenged the ban under an amended provision of the Uttar Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1916 on the ground that it imposed unreasonable restriction, affecting their rights under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. However, the Bench noted that by the amended provision, the Municipal Board had added only “eggs” in the list of already banned non-vegetarian food articles.
“There was already a prohibition in regard to any kind of meat or fish. The High Court has noticed that under the amended provision, the ban on sale of meat and fish, which was existing for a long time, was not challenged.” The Bench said the High Court was right in holding that the prohibition on sale of eggs within the limits of Rishikesh — a town of Hindu temples — was not an unreasonable restriction being in the larger interest of welfare of the people, consistent with the provisions of the Act.
Keeping in mind the religious sentiments attached to the three towns of Haridwar, Rishikesh and Muni Ki Reti, the Bench said: “Geographical situation and peculiar culture of the three towns justify complete restriction on trade and public dealing in non-vegetarian food items, including eggs, within the municipal limits of the towns.”