Cows and the law: India
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Legal guardians of cows
The Uttarakhand high court assumes responsibility/ 2018
After Ganga And Wildlife, High Court Shows Compassion For Cattle
In a first of its kind ruling in the country, Uttarakhand high court invoked the ‘parens patriae’ clause (becoming a legal protector) for “the welfare of cows and other stray cattle in Uttarakhand.” By invoking this provision, the court declared itself as a legal guardian of members of the bovine family across the state. The court’s order was delivered on August 10 and a certified copy was made available on Monday.
A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari in the detailed 41-page order spelt out various steps for the protection of cows in the state.
Citing various references in its order including Supreme Court rulings, excerpts from the Upanishads and Arthashastra as well as teachings of Jainism and Buddhism and quotes of Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama to stress the importance of caring for animals, the judges gave a series of directions to the state government. These included “ensuring the banning of slaughter of any cow, bull, bullock, heifer or calf, prohibition on selling of beef or beef products in any form throughout the state, providing medical treatment to all the stray cattle in the state, appointing infirmaries within a period of three weeks in order to treat and take care of the animals, evicting all unauthorised occupants/encroachers from gaushalas within a period of three months and ensuring adequate patrolling by state police in rural areas once in 24 hours to ensure that no cow is slaughtered.” “A special squad is ordered to be headed by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent of police in both commissionaries that is Kumaon and Garhwal with one veterinarian to protect cows,” the judges said.
The court also ordered cases to be registered under sections 289, 428 and 429 of the IPC as well as various provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960 and section 7 of the Uttarakhand Protection of Cow Progeny Act, 2007, against the owners of any cattle that are found on the streets.
Stressing on the importance of compassion while dealing with the animals, the judges said, “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. They require food, water, shelter, and medical care.”
The directions came while hearing a public interest litigation alleging abandoned cows and bulls are being slaughtered in Haridwar district.
The HC invoked the ‘parens patriae’ clause to become the legal protector of cows, the first ruling of its kind in the country
Cows and the law: India