Special Squad, Police Patrolling Every 24 Hours To Prevent Slaughter: Uttarakhand HC Issues Directions For “Welfare” of Cows & Other Stray Cattle [Read Judgment]
The Uttarakhand High Court on Friday issued a slew of directions for the welfare of cows and other stray cattle in the State.
The directions were issued by a Bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari, on a petition filed by one Alim, alleging illegal slaughter of cows and other animals in his area. He had contended that the State has failed in its duty to enforce the provisions of the Uttarakhand Protection of Cow Progeny Act, 2007, Municipal Laws and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
The Court however widened the scope of the petition, noting the deficiencies in adhering to the provisions of the existing laws by the State and the citizens alike.
The judgment highlighted the necessity to show compassion towards animals, with the Court observing, “We have to show compassion towards all living creatures. Animals may be mute but we as a society have to speak on their behalf. No pain or agony should be caused to the animals. Cruelty to animals also causes psychological pain to them. In Hindu Mythology, every animal is associated with god. Animals breathe like us and have emotions. The animals require food, water, shelter, normal behaviour, medical care, self-determination.”
The Bench then asserted that it was invoking the parens patriae doctrine to issue the following mandatory directions:
No slaughter of cow and stray cattle
- “No person in the State of Uttarakhand shall slaughter cause or cause to be slaughtered, or offer, or cause to be offered for slaughter, any cow, bull, bullock, heifer or calf forthwith.
- No person shall export cow, bull, bullock, heifer or calf for the purpose of slaughter either directly or through his agent or servant or any other person acting on his behalf if the same is likely to be slaughtered.
- No person shall sell beef or beef products in any form throughout the State of Uttarakhand.
Prosecution against owners of stray cattle
Prosecution be launched under Section 289, 428 and 429 of the I.P.C. and also under various provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960 as well as Section 7 of the Uttarakhand Protection of Cow Progeny Act, 2007, against the owners of any cattle which are found on the streets, roads and public places.
No stray cattle on the roads
- Chief Engineers of all National Highways in the State of Uttarakhand and the State Highways are directed to ensure that no stray cattle, including cows and oxen come onto the roads.
- Executive Officers of the Municipal Corporations, Municipal Bodies, Nagar Panchayats and Pradhans of the Gram Panchayats are directed to ensure that all the roads passing through their jurisdiction are kept free from the stray cattle to ensure free and smooth flow of the traffic.
- The functionaries of the State are directed that while removing the stray cattle from the road, the utmost compassion is shown towards them and no unnecessary pain and suffering is inflicted on. In case the cattle are transported, in that eventuality, there should be a provision for construction of ramps and the vehicles should be driven at speeds not more than 10-15 kms/hour to avoid injuries to the animals, being transported.
Doctors to treat stray cattle
The Government Veterinary Officers/Doctors throughout the State of Uttarakhand are directed to treat all the stray cattle. The Executive Officers of the Municipal Bodies, Nagar Panchayats and all the Gram Panchayats are directed to ensure that the stray cattle suffering from any injury or disease are got treated from the Veterinary Hospitals in their respective jurisdictions. All the Veterinary Hospitals in the State of Uttarakhand are directed to provide necessary medical treatment to the cows and animals as and when brought before them. No Government Veterinary Officer/Doctor shall refuse to treat stray cattle brought before him by the authorities or any enlightened citizen. Every citizen has a right to bring to the notice of the Veterinary Officer/Doctor throughout the State of Uttarakhand the location of the Cow or stray animal suffering from any disease or injury for its treatment.
Construction of gaushalas
- All the Municipal Corporation, Municipal Bodies including Zila Parishads are directed to construct in their respective jurisdiction “gaushalas”/”gausadans” or shelters/homes for housing cow progeny and stray cattle within a period of one year from today.
- All the District Magistrates throughout State of Uttarakhand are directed to construct Gaushalas/Gausadans in a cluster of 25 villages throughout the State of Uttarakhand, within a period of one year from today.
- The “gaushalas’/gausadans’ or shelters should be constructed on scientific lines, taking into consideration the comfort of animals to be housed there. No commercial charges shall be levied for supplying the electricity and water connections in Gaushalas/Shelters.
- The State Government is directed to appoint infirmaries within a period of three weeks in order to treat and take care of the animals as per Section 35 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Special squad for protecting cows
The special squad is ordered to be headed by the Officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in both Commissionaries i.e. Kumaon and Garhwa with one Veterinary Doctor to protect cows.
No encroachers in gaushalas
The State Government is directed to evict all the unauthorized occupants/encroachers from the gaushalas/ gausadans within a period of three months from today after granting opportunity of hearing to them.
Patrolling for ensuring that cows are not slaughtered
The Circle Officer of all the Districts throughout the State of Uttarakhand more particularly falling in the plain areas are directed to patrol the rural areas once in 24 hours to ensure that no cow is slaughtered.
Religious gurus to help with construction of gaushalas
All the Head Gurus of all the religions including Deras are requested to assist the State in construction of gaushalas/gausadans to house cows.
Carrying of load by animals
- The State Government is directed to ensure that the draught animals do not carry load while driving vehicles more than as prescribed.
- The State Government is directed to ensure that no animal shall carry weight or load in excess of the weight as prescribed.
- It is also made clear that where the route by which a vehicle is to be drawn involves an ascent for not less than one kilometre and the gradient is more than three meters in a distance of thirty metres, the weight shall be half of what is specified by this Court. It is also made clear by way of abundant precaution that the weight specified in the direction made hereinabove, shall be inclusively the weight of the vehicle.
- The State Government is directed to ensure that in any area where the temperature exceeds 37°C (99°F) during the period between 11.00 am and 4.00 p.m. in summers and when the temperature is below 5°C between 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in winter season no person is permitted to keep or cause to be kept in harness any animal used for the purpose of drawing vehicles.
- The State Government is directed to ensure that all the cattle i.e. cow, bulls, buffalos and calf are transported in goods vehicle as per Rule 56 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978 by providing special type of tail board on padding around the sides. The ordinary goods vehicle shall be provided with anti-slipping material such as coir matting or wooden boards on the floor and the superstructure. No goods vehicle shall carry more than six cattle. Each goods vehicle shall be provided with one attendant. The goods vehicle shall not be loaded with any other merchandise. The cattle should preferably face the engine to prevent them from being frightened or injured. The same instructions shall be followed by the Railways authority as per Rules 47-55 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978. The horses, mules and donkeys shall also be transported as per Rules, 57 to 53 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978. The sheep and goats shall be transported as per Rules 64 to 75 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978. The poultry shall be transported as per Chapter VII and the Rules 76 to 84 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978. The animals should be separated by means of wooden ballies or MS pipes in such a way not more than 6 cattle can be transported in the vehicle. A ramp should be fixed to the vehicle on the rear side which can be folded upwards and it should have a width of 1.5 meters and inclination of 30 degrees when it is landed on the ground. The ramp should take the weight of the animals. A First-Aid Box filled with the medicines, as provided under the Rules shall be carried in the vehicle transporting the animals.
Conditions for transporting animals on foot
- No animal including cows, buffaloes, calves, horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, foal, goats and sheep, kids and lambs, pigs, piglets shall be transported on foot beyond the period specified in Rule 12 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Transport of Animals on Foot) Rules, 2001.
- The animals shall be transported on foot only when the temperature is between 12°C to 30°C. The animals should be provided water every two hours and food in every four hours. The animals should not be made to walk more than 2 hours at a stretch.
- The State Government is directed to ensure that every animal to be transported should be healthy and in good condition. A certificate of veterinary doctor in respect of each animal to be transported is made compulsory as per Rule 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Transport of Animals on Foot) Rules, 2001.
- No new born animal of which the navel has not completely healed, diseased, blind, emaciated, lame, fatigued, or having given birth during the preceding seventy-two hours or likely to give birth during transport are ordered not to be transported on foot. There should be watering arrangements en-route during transport of such animals on foot. There should be sufficient feed and fodder arrangements during transportation of animals.
- The animals while transported shall not be tied by its nose, or legs or any other part of the body except by its neck. The animals, if at all, are to be tied during transportation shall be tied with rope covered with suitable cushioning.
- The State Government is directed to ensure that no animals shall be transported on foot on hard cement, bitumen-coated or metalled roads, steep gradients or hilly and rocky terrain, irrespective of weather conditions (summers and winter), as per Rule 30 of the Rules of 2001.
- All the police officers are directed to enforce the provisions of Rule 14.
Societies for prevention of cruelty on animals
- The State Government is also directed to constitute societies for prevention of cruelty to animals in each district, if not already constituted.
- The cost of transporting the animal to an infirmary or pinjrapole, shall be paid by the owner of the animal.
Registration of cases against those abandoning cows
The State Government is directed to register cases against the persons who leave vagrant any cow progeny and free for wandering a cow after milching her.Read the Judgment Here