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Delhi High Court Issues Notice To Centre On Plea For 'Total Prohibition' On Cow Slaughter

Suhavi Arya
2 Feb 2022 1:22 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Issues Notice To Centre On Plea For Total Prohibition On Cow Slaughter
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The Delhi High Court has issued notice on plea seeking "total prohibition" on slaughter of cows and its progeny, alleging that the same violates Article 48 of the Constitution.Article 48 is a Directive Principle requiring state to make efforts for banning slaughtering of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle. A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Patel and Justice...

The Delhi High Court has issued notice on plea seeking "total prohibition" on slaughter of cows and its progeny, alleging that the same violates Article 48 of the Constitution.

Article 48 is a Directive Principle requiring state to make efforts for banning slaughtering of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has issued notice to the Centre through its Ministry of Home Affairs and has fixed the case for hearing on March 15, 2022.

The petitioner, Brishbhan Verma, a 76 years old man from Madhya Pradesh appearing in person, contended that the slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks not only violate animal rights but also violate his right under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Verma, claiming to be an animal welfare activist, contended that Article 48 has been incorrectly interpreted, where prohibition of killing/ slaughtering of any animals and their progeny excludes the male counterpart. He stated that such actions adversely impact the economic growth of the Indian agricultural sector.

"Prohibition on slaughter of cows must be extended to bulls and bullocks only because such cattle, even after becoming useless as animals that can assist in agricultural work or breeding, continue to provide dung and urine that can either be used by farmers as manure and fertilizer, or can be sold by the owners of such otherwise useless cattle," the plea states. 

It is further averred that cow and its original species are on the verge of banishment as it can be devised that cow breeds from 1947 to 1991 turned from 70 Crore to few lacks maximum 1 crore.

"It means that almost 97% of cow breeds are either slaughtered or vanished. Now if we considerably look only 3% of cow breeds are alive presently and if no concreate steps are taken then there will not remain a single species of cow," it is contended. 

Reliance was placed on Mohammed Hanif Quareshi v. State of Bihar AIR 1958 SC 731 to the extent that the Apex Court had held that the following were reasonable and valid

  • A total ban on slaughter of (male and female) cows, calves and she-buffalos
  • A total ban on slaughter of she-buffalos, breeding bulls, or working bullocks is reasonable and valid.
  • A total ban on slaughter of she-buffalos after they are unable to produce milk/ breed or work as draught animals

In this case, the Supreme Court had also said that ban on slaughter of animals which have ceased to be draught or milch animal is not in public interest and hence invalid.

The petitioner added that in AIIMS Student Union v. AIIMS (2002) 1 SCC 428, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court had made it clear that while fundamental duties are not enforceable, but they provide valuable guidance and aid to interpretation on constitutional and other legal issues.

He added that Article 51-A (which states that the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform) should serve as a guide on this issue.

Case Title: Brishbhan Verma v. Union of India & Anr.

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