The Bombay High Court is likely to hear Monday a PIL filed by Jain charitable trusts seeking restriction or ban on advertisement of non-vegetarian food in print and electronic media, saying such promotions are a violation of the right to live in peace and right to privacy.
The Public Interest Litigation is listed for hearing before a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav J Jamdar Monday.
The PIL has been filed by Shree Atma Kamal Labdhisurishwarji Jain Gyanrnandir Trust, Sheth Motisha Religious and Charitable Trust, Shri Vardhaman Parivar, and Mumbai businessman Jyotindra Ramniklal Shah who claimed that their families, including children, are forced to watch such ads without their consent. The plea said they affect the minds of these children in the community.
“If some people want to eat non-vegetarian foods, they are free to do the same but showing/displaying the non-vegetarian foods in the houses of the people who are vegetarian is not good and proper and the same affects their constitutional and fundamental rights,” they claimed in the petition.
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The PIL sought directions to respondents, including the State Government and its Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Press Council of India, Advertisement Standards Council of India, and private meat companies owning the brands like Licious.
The plea also sought directions to the authorities to frame and issue guidelines to restrict and ban ads of non-vegetarian foods across media as they not only disturb and cause harassment to people who believe in being vegetarian, but also infringe on their right to privacy.
It claimed while Article 51A (g) of the Constitution provides for compassion towards living creatures as one of the fundamental duties, these ads promote cruelty towards them. The petition further said there is a ban on advertising alcohol and certain restrictions while advertising cigarettes by the government, “non-vegetarian foods are not healthy, causes damage to the environment and instigates youngsters to consume them.”
The petitioners said they are not opposed to the sale and consumption of non-vegetarian food but their grievance is only against the advertisement of such items. “Such advertisements can cause serious harm to the environment leading to degradation and depletion of natural resources as the killing of thousands of animals, birds, and marine life everyday causes and environmental imbalance,” they said.
It also referred to actions taken by municipal corporations and state governments in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand restricting the sale and advertisement of non-vegetarian food at certain locations, including Mathura, Rishikesh, and Jain pilgrim site Palitana, and sought relief and directions to the authorities against these ads.