NEW DELHI : The BJP-led South Delhi Municipal Corporation is planning to make it mandatory for restaurants and meat shops in its jurisdiction to prominently display whether the meat they are serving is halal or jhatka.
For good measure, the proposal states that consuming halal meat is “forbidden and against religion in Hinduism and Sikhism”. The standing committee of the civic body approved the proposal on Thursday. It will now go to the house where BJP has a majority.
Standing committee chairperson Rajdutt Gahlot argued that the objective is to let the consumer know about the kind of meat being served, so that they can make an informed choice. “Right now, we have a situation in which a licence has been issued for one type of meat while something else is being sold,” he added.
The resolution, moved by Chhattarpur councillor Anita Tanwar, was tabled by the medical relief and public health panel on November 9, 2020.
The resolution states that “thousands of restaurants are running in 104 wards of four zones falling under SDMC and meat is being served in 90% restaurants but it is not displayed by them whether…(it) is halal or jhatka.” A similar situation prevailed at meat shops, it adds.
The resolution observes, “According to Hinduism and Sikhism, eating halal meat is forbidden and against religion… Therefore, the committee resolves that this direction be given to restaurants and meat shops that it should be written mandatorily about the meat being sold and served by them…that halal or jhatka meat is available here.”
Most consumers usually do not bother to find out at a restaurant whether the meat is halal or jhatka. A civic body may ask for a declaration for consumers to make an informed choice but the invocation of religion in the proposal makes it somewhat prescriptive and presumptive.
Tanwar said the intent behind the move was not to stop anyone from eating one form of meat. “This is not to ban one form of the meat or the other. The change is to respect religious sentiments. Everyone is free to eat the kind of meat they want. Hindus don’t like to eat halal meat. If we put up a board at each restaurant, people will know what kind of meat is being served to them,” she added.
All eateries have to obtain an annual health trade licence from the corporation and the councillors want the condition to be part of that process.
There are more than 2,000 eateries in south Delhi. An SDMC official said if the proposal goes through, enforcement may be difficult as eateries will be reluctant to adopt it. “If they mention one type of meat, some people may avoid it. Who would want to lose business?” he asked.
In the last couple of years, the civic bodies have been obsessed with proposals regarding meat. A few months back, the east corporation had passed a resolution stating that meat shops should not be allowed among the 24 trades permitted in residential lanes in DDA’s new master plan. In August 2018, it had cleared a similar proposal to make halal-jhatka boards mandatory.