A butcher cuts up portions of beef for sale in an abattoir at a wholesale market in Mumbai (Reuters)
A butcher cuts up portions of beef for sale in an abattoir at a wholesale market in Mumbai (Reuters)Reuters

The Bombay High Court on Monday rejected nine petitions seeking the relaxation of the beef ban in Maharashtra during a three-day period for Eid ul Adha festival, also known as Bakr Eid.

The petitions had sought an exemption from the beef ban, which came into effect in the state in March this year, as Muslims will celebrate Bakr Eid, also known as Bakri Eid or Bakra Eid, from September 25 to 28.

The petitioners had called for the suspension of provisions that had made the sale and possession of beef and slaughter of bulls illegal under the amended Maharashtra Preservation of Animals Act, which made any violation punishable with a jail term of five years and and a fine of Rs 10,000.

They cited that it violates Article 25 (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion), Article 26 (Freedom to manage religious affairs subject to public order, morality and health) and Article 29 (Protection of interests of minorities) of the Indian Constitution.

But the Bombay High Court stated that it cannot relax the beef ban temporarily as it was already hearing a petition challenging the Act, The Times of India reported.

Before the ban, the slaughter of bulls was allowed only after a conditional certificate was obtained stating that the animal was no longer 'useful' for agricultural or breeding purposes. 

Slaughter of cows was completely prohibited under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976.

Muslims in India will celebrate Bakr Eid on 25 September, and the festivities will continue for three days. 

Muslims slaughter animals, such as sheep, lamb and even bulls, to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience and submission to Allah (God).