11 Feb 2021 11:57 AM GMT
The Jammu & Kashmir High Court last week disposed of a plea seeking direction to enact a law prohibiting slaughter of cows and its progeny, ox, bull, buffalo etc in the Union Territory of J&K by giving petitioner the liberty to approach Chief Secretary. The Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal specifically observed that it is settled law that no writ...
The Jammu & Kashmir High Court last week disposed of a plea seeking direction to enact a law prohibiting slaughter of cows and its progeny, ox, bull, buffalo etc in the Union Territory of J&K by giving petitioner the liberty to approach Chief Secretary.
The Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal specifically observed that it is settled law that no writ of mandamus would lie for issuing direction for enacting a particular law.
"The court cannot take upon the task of enacting the law itself or to issue any direction in this regard to any other authority as the same is only within the domain of the legislature of the Union Territory", remarked the Court.
Sh. D. C. Raina, Advocate General has submitted that that the grievance of the petitioner can be taken care of by the Chief Secretary and as and when the legislature comes into existence, the matter can be brought to its notice for due consideration.
The plea before the Court
The plea, filed by an NGO named SAVE filed the instant public interest plea for commanding the respondents to enact a law prohibiting slaughter of cows and its progeny, ox, bull, buffalo etc in the UT of J&K and to make such an act of slaughtering of these animals a cognizable offence with strict punishment.
The Counsel for the petitioner relying upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in Dr. Ashwani Kumar v. Union of India and another [Miscellaneous Application No. 2560/2018 [(in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 738 of 2016)] submitted that if there is any vacuum in law, the courts can certainly intervene and issue necessary directions.
At the outset, the Court observed,
"It is for the law makers i.e. the legislature of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to enact a law on a given subject…At present the legislature of the Union Territory is not in place. Therefore, at the moment no such law can be considered for being enacted."
Significantly, the Court also noted,
"Enacting of law to prohibit the slaughter of cows and its progeny is a new subject and can not be due to any vacuum in law. It is a fresh demand of certain section of the people or the wildlife lovers to have such a law on the subject with the repeal of RPC. It is for the law makers to consider and to take a call on it."
With this observation, the Court did not deem it necessary to keep the petition pending and disposed of the same with liberty to the petitioner to raise his grievance before the Chief Secretary by submitting a comprehensive representation in that regard.
It may be noted that the Apex Court's rulings in the cases of Bal Ram Bali & Anr. v. Union of India AIR 2007 SC 3074, V.K. Naswa v. Union of India (2012) 2 SCC 542 and Manoj Narula v. Union of India (2014) 9 SCC 1 have reiterated time and again that neither the Court can legislate, nor it has any competence to issue directions to the legislature to enact the law in a particular manner.
Recently, the Allahabad High Court had dismissed the plea for direction to Centre to consider legislating law regulating religious conversion along the lines of up love-jihad law.
In this matter, the Court had observed that Courts have very limited role with regard to judicial legislation since neither the Courts can legislate nor they have any competence to issue directions to legislature to enact a law in a particular manner.
Recently, the Karnataka Assembly passed a bill to ban the slaughter of all cattle except buffalo aged above the age of 13 years.
The bill defines "cattle" as "cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock and he or she buffalo below the age of thirteen years".
"Beef" is defined as "flesh of cattle in any form".
The bill titled the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, imposes a total ban on the slaughter of cattle.
Case title - SAVE v. the Union of India and others [WP(C) PIL No. 18 of 2020]
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