A local court in Surat on Friday sentenced a 35-year-old man Friday to three years in jail for possessing beef, observing that it is an effort to “set an example in society”.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Rafik Khalifa, a resident of Devdha village of Navsari district, who was caught with beef in October 2014.
Khalifa was arrested under Sections 6 (1), (2), (3), 8 (4) of Animal Protection Act and IPC Sections 429 and 114. According to the police, 40 kg beef worth Rs 4,000 was seized from him.
During interrogation, Khalifa said that he had bought the beef from Hanif Maniyat, a butcher in another village. Maniyat was also arrested, but the court released him due to lack of evidence.
The police chargesheet involved six witnesses, including two gaurakshaks who had caught Khalifa, a Forensic Sciences Lab (FSL) officer, two policemen and another person. Police had also submitted the FSL report which had stated that meat found in Khalifa’s possession was beef.
Sentencing Khalifa to three-year imprisonment with a penalty of Rs 10,000, Additional Judicial Magistrate (First Class) C Y Vyas said in the order: “The cow is connected to religious sentiments of a section of society. Besides, if such crimes are on the rise, it threatens to spread hostility in society. Under the circumstances, to set an example in society and ensure that accused does not repeat his offence, if the accused is sent to prison, it will impact other people in society and they will be restrained from committing such crimes.”
The court also said that it is not “justified to scale down the punishment” just because the “accused is poor, and has responsibilities of a family. The accused is pronounced guilty and within the powers of this court, maximum punishment should be granted.”
Defence counsel P D Patel said, “We have gone through the judgment and will challenge this in higher courts.”