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
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
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
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
Conditions for transporting animals on foot
Societies for prevention of cruelty on animals
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.