Updated: August 13, 2021 8:01:14 am
Quashing the detention of three persons under the National Security Act (NSA) in a cow slaughter case, the Allahabad High Court has said that slaughtering a cow “in the secrecy of one’s house” could involve a law and order issue but not public order.
Hearing habeas corpus petitions filed by families of the three — Irfan, Rahmatullah and Parvez — who were arrested for alleged cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district in July last year, an HC bench said: “…an act of slaughtering a cow in the secrecy of one’s own house in the wee hours probably because of poverty or lack of employment or hunger, would perhaps only involve a law and order issue and could not be said to stand on the same footing as a situation where a number of cattle have been slaughtered outside in public view and the public transport of their flesh or an incident where an aggressive attack is made by the slaughterers against the complaining public, which may involve infractions of public order.”
Ordering their release, the court in its August 5 order observed: “There was no material for reaching the conclusion that the petitioners/detenues would repeat the activity in future”.
As per the court, the detention order under the NSA was served to the three on August 14 last year when they were lodged in Sitapur jail following their arrest. They were booked under different sections of the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955 and Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013.
The court was told that another FIR under UP Gangsters Act and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 was lodged against the three.
According to the court document, after police received information that Irfan, Rahmatullah and Parvez and two butchers from Biswan village were cutting beef to sell it, Talgaon police officials raided the house of the petitioners at 5.30 am. Parvez and Irfan were arrested on the spot along with beef, it said.
The court took note of the fact that when “aforesaid news spread in the area, villagers of Hindu community gathered… and communal amity was disturbed”. The police managed to restore public order after great efforts, it said.
During the hearing, the counsel of the accused argued “that since the detenues were in the custody of the police authorities for a substantive offence and during that period, another FIR was registered under the Gangsters Act, therefore, there was no need to direct their preventive detention merely on the basis of a solitary incident of cutting beef… in the secrecy of their home”.
The Additional Government Advocate (AGA), who argued on behalf of the state, submitted that “only the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority that the action of the detenues/petitioners could have disturbed even the tempo of life was sufficient for clamping an order of preventive detention…”
The AGA said “cutting of beef to sell it offends religious faith and feelings of a section of society…”
Concluding its order, the court said that the three habeas corpus petitions “succeed and are allowed”. “The detention order and impugned consequential orders are quashed. The detenues/petitioners shall be released forthwith unless wanted in connection with some other criminal case,” it said.
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