PIL before the Supreme Court calls for a national ban on halal products

A public interest litigation petition has been filed with the Supreme Court of India seeking a nationwide ban on Halal certified products and the withdrawal of Halal certification.

The petitioner, lawyer Vibhor Anand, said he is filing the PIL on behalf of “85% of the citizens of the country” on whom halal products are allegedly taxed.

“It is only because the Muslim minority, which represents 15% of the population, wants to consume ‘halal’ food, that it is imposed on the remaining 85% of the population,” the petition states. According to the petitioner, this entails a violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

“This petition is brought by the petitioner on behalf of 85% of the citizens of the country for the enforcement of their fundamental rights as stated in Section 14, 21 of the Constitution of India as these are infringed and violated It is seen that for the good of 15% of the population, the rest 85% of people are forced to consume Halal products against their will”.

The Halal certification process is said to have started in India in 1974. Although at first it was limited to meat products, it later spread to other products including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, healthcare products, toiletries and medical devices. “Today, it even includes halal-friendly tourism, medical tourism, warehouse certification, restaurant certification, and training, among others, in the ever-growing list. It even seeps into services such as logistics, media, branding and marketing”, the plea says.

The written petition filed through Attorney Ravi Kumar Tomar requested the Union of India to declare all halal certificates issued by the defendants including Jamiat Ulama-E-Maharashtra, Halal Certification Services India Private Limited, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust and Halal India Private Limited as early as 1974 as null and void ab initio, and impose a ban on all products that have been certified by them.

Further, the petition requested instructions from the defendant companies including KFC, Nestlé, Britannia etc. and all other local and multinational companies operating in India to remove all halal certified food and other consumable products from markets across the country.

The petitioner also said that all non-Muslims should stop buying halal certified products.

“If such a movement gains momentum in India, manufacturers will be forced to choose from the three available options – cater to only 82% non-Muslim consumers, cater to only 18% Muslim consumers, or manufacture two versions to address 100% of consumers. manufacturer will obviously choose the most profitable option”, plea said

With regard to Halal certification, the petitioner argued that free and open market principles should be applied to let the final consumer make the decision. Additionally, if non-Muslim consumers feel cheated or hurt by Halal certification, they should be given the option to purchase non-Halal products.

According to the petitioner, most businesses have started serving only halal meat now to save the cost of maintaining supply chains, for halal and non-halal meat, and for people who may not be comfortable with halal meat, or for people with religions where only jhatka meat is allowed, no longer have a choice in the matter.

According to the petitioner, despite the presence of government agencies such as FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), the halal certificate is imposed on more than 100 Crore non-Muslims in the country, and while it was previously limited to meat, it has now been extended. also vegetarian products

The petitioner stated that the imposition of one religion’s beliefs on everyone can hardly be called secular.

Vibhor Anand was arrested by Mumbai police in 2020 in a case spreading conspiracy theories over the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. He later expressed his repentance saying he had been influenced by watching Republic TV and was released on bail on condition that he apologize online.

Case Title: Vibhor Anand v Union of India & Ors

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Rozella J. Cook