In a recommendation to the Centre on Wednesday, the Rajasthan High Court said the cow should be declared as the national animal. The court also asked the Centre to increase the length of punishment for cow slaughter to life imprisonment. A single-judge bench of Justice Mahesh Chand Sharma appointed the state chief secretary and Advocate General to take up the matter with the Centre.
“Nepal is a Hindu nation and has declared cow as national animal. India is a predominant agriculture country based in animal rearing. As per Article 48 and 51A (g) it is expected from the state government that they should take action to get a legal entity for cow in this country,” Sharma said in his order.
The bench was hearing a case involving the death of over a hundred cows at a government-run cow shelter in Jaipur last year.
“It is expected from the government that it should declare cow as national animal and for this purpose the Chief Secretary and Advocate General of state are declared legal custodians of cow,” the judge said in a 145-page order.
While Article 48 of the Constitution says the State should take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle, Article 51A(g) speaks of protecting natural environment and having compassion for living creatures.
The punishment for cow slaughter varies from state to state. In Rajasthan, those found guilty of cow slaughter can be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. A fine of upto Rs 10,000 can also be imposed. Slaughter of “cow, calf, heifer, bull or bullock” is prohibited in the state, including possession and transport of their flesh.
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Earlier on Tuesday, the Madras High Court stayed the Centre’s decision to ban the sale and purchase of animals for slaughter at cattle markets for four weeks. The new cattle regulation was met with strong criticism as people in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal publicly protesting against it. Beef fests were organised by political outfits, where beef was cooked and distributed freely among locals.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to withdraw the ban. He said thousands of lives would be affected due to the new rules. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the state government would challenge the Centre’s decision in court. DMK’s working president M K Stalin led a protest against the ban on Wednesday in Chennai.
On Tuesday, a group of eight students allegedly attacked a PhD scholar studying in IIT-Madras for attending a beef fest held inside the campus. The student, identified as Sooraj, was allegedly attacked in the varsity. The attacker were reportedly led by another student, who is an ABVP sympathiser.
With PTI inputs