Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court has granted a further one month's time to the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to make the act of mischievously killing or maiming cattle, including cows, a non-bailable offence by amending Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code.
On March 1, 2017, Justice B. Siva Sankara Rao while dismissing a criminal revision petition said that in September 2014, the High Court had directed both governments to take steps to amend Section 429 of the IPC to make the above offence non-bailable since the subject was in the concurrent list, and also to amend Sections 11 and 26 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to consider enhancement of the punishment at par with Section 429 IPC if not more equally in Section 10 of the AP Cow Slaughter Act, 1977.
Cow mischief: HC gives state month to amend law
Maintaining that there was no progress in this regard, Judge Siva Sankara Rao ruled that “it is also the need to amend the certificate if issued of a healthy cow or bull or calf as if not fit and to permit from such certificate to slaughter the veterinary doctor who issued such certificate is also liable for penal consequences by incorporating in Section 10 of AP Cow Slaughter Act, 1977 making it as cognizable and non-bailable offence, besides attracting of other penal provisions of IPC.”
While dealing with the plea of Ramavath Hanuma of Nalgonda district, the judge framed a question: “whether a person claiming to be owner or representing the owner, either to kill or to sell for slaughter, entitled to interim custody of cows and bulls seized from him...?”
M.A. Mukheet, counsel for the petitioner submitted that the cows were grazing in open place and that there was no cruelty that would attract Section 11 of the Act of 1960 and even Sections 5, 6 and 10 of the Act of 1977 do not apply, and that handing over of animals to gaushalas was illegal.
The public prosecutor of the state contended that the order of the lower court holds good and there was prima facie accusation under the Act II of 1977 and the procedure was established by law that on information that cows are being subjected to slaughter for sacrifice on the occasion of a Muslim festival, the police are entitled to seize the cattle and it was not wrong to entrust the animals to gaushalas. While upholding the order of the lower court, the judge pointed out that it was not the end of the issue, negating the contention of the petitioner, but to answer further on the contention raised on religious sacrifices.
The judge noted that “in this country for those in belief who represent a majority of population, cow is a substitute to mother, who is a substitute to God. The cow in particular acquires a special sanctity and was called Aghnya (not to be slain). Thus, cow is a sacred national wealth and no one merely owned can claim, but for to rear, either to kill or to sell for slaughter”
Citing the Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas, the judge noted that "Cows are equivalent to our mothers for when the mother's milk has dried up, the cow gives her milk unselfishly. How can one justify the killing of such a mother?”
The judge said, “So from these examples it can be clearly understood that cow killing and cow eating were definitely not sanctioned by the scriptures. According to Bible cow killing is not sanctioned in the Christian religion either.”
While granting the order the judge directed the Registry to communicate this order to chief secretaries of both governments to take necessary steps and report compliance by June 5.
When this case came up for hearing, the PPs of both states asked for more time and the judge granted time till July 7 to report compliance.