Supreme Court judge Justice Indu Malhotra on Monday recused herself from hearing a plea challenging a Bombay High Court order which decriminalised the possession of beef if animals slaughtered outside Maharashtra.
While recusing herself from the matter, she said that she had earlier represented a party in the case as a lawyer.
A bench headed by Justice A M Sapre said the petitions will be listed before an appropriate bench by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for referring the entire matter to a constitution bench.
The Bombay High Court had on May, 2017 upheld the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks imposed by the Maharashtra government but had decriminalised the possession of beef in case the animals were slaughtered outside the state.
A clutch of petitions and cross-petitions are pending in the top court challenging the Bombay High Court's order.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising represents 30 individuals from Maharashtra led by activist Swatija Paranjpe who have demanded the lifting of a ban on beef and decriminalisation of food habits.
The state government had also filed a plea challenging the court's order to decriminalise possession of beef if carried in from outside the state and seeking restoration of the law.
The government, in its plea, said the restriction imposed by the 1995 Act on possession of flesh of cow, bull or bullock could not be interpreted and concluded to be an infringement of "right to privacy".
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