New Delhi: Refusing to quash a criminal case filed against a man for alleged cow slaughtering and transportation for sale, the Allahabad high court urged the Union government to ban cow slaughter and declare it as a “protected national animal”.
According to Bar and Bench, the single-judge bench of Justice Shamim Ahmed made the observation while hearing an application filed by one Mohd Abdul Khaliq. While the police accused him and another person of involvement in cow slaughter, his lawyer argued that there is no chemical analysis report to support the assertion.
“In the absence of any chemical analysis report, the Investigating Officer submitted [the] chargesheet against the applicant, whereupon the learned magistrate has also taken cognizance in a routine manner and summoned the applicant for facing trial,” the lawyer argued, according to the order.
After hearing the arguments, Justice Ahmed held that the applicant’s argument that no offence is disclosed and the prosecution has been instituted with “malafide intention” for the purposes of harassment “has no force”.
“We are living in a secular country and must have respect for all religions and in Hinduism, the belief and faith is that cow is representative of divine and natural beneficence and should therefore be protected and venerated,” the judge noted.
He said the “origin of the veneration of the cow” can be traced to the Vedic period, the order says. “The Indo-European peoples who entered India in the 2nd millennium BCE were pastoralists; cattle had major economic significance that was reflected in their religion. The slaughter of milk- producing cows was increasingly prohibited,” it adds.
“Legends also state that Brahma gave life to priests and cows same time so that the priests could recite religious scriptures while cows could afford ghee (clarified butter) as offering in rituals. Anyone who kills cows or allows others to kill them is deemed to rot in hell as many years as there are hairs upon his body. Likewise, the bull is depicted as a vehicle of Lord Shiva: a symbol of respect for the male cattle,” the judge’s order.
While Hindu groups have long demanded that the cow should be declared the “national animal”, there has been increasing support for this demand from courts. In September 2021, the Allahabad high court said that parliament should make pass a law declaring the cow as the “national animal” and include it within the ambit of fundamental rights.
Earlier in 2017, the Rajasthan high court mooted the same idea.
However, in October last year, the Supreme Court refused to hear a plea that sought the declaration of the cow as the national animal.
“Is this the job of the court? Why do you file such petitions where we are compelled to impose costs? Which fundamental right is violated? Should we throw law to the winds because you come to court?” the bench said.