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HomeColumns Ban on Cow Slaughter: The Camouflage of Article 48 By: Sandhya Ram | October 20, 2015 19 In primary school,

we had a
composition book in which we wrote compositions on different topics. One such topic was The Cow. I neither remember having written
anything like Cow is my mother, or The cow is more than a mother to me, nor did I write about the cow being sacred. I might have written
that cow is a domestic animal; that cow gives us milk; that cow has four legs and a tail;or that cow dung is used as manure. Excuse me, I hail
from the State of Kerala, where I never came across anything about cow worship, though I adored Krishna and used to admire the pictures in
Amarchithrakadha where I saw pictures of the charming Krishna with his beautiful cows. It is true that I had habitually touched with respect the
stone Nandi in Shiva temples, but had not given much thought to it, as I had done the same with the stone mouse at the Ganapati temple too.
The topic most debated these days is the cow. In social media, compositions are being written about The Cow once again. When some
people consider cow to be sacred and ought to be worshiped, others dont find any such sanctity over a cow, in spite of whether they eat
beef or not. It is nothing but a matter of faith to worship anything, or believe in God or follow any particular religion. No one can impose ones
faith on others and no one can stop another from eating what he likes to eat. This is common sense in a civilized world. But there comes the
dilemma of legal restrictions. Living under a state, one is legally entitled to do all that is not prohibited by law. So what if law prohibits beef
eating? Is such a law reasonable and if so on what account? Of course I am aware of Article 48 of the Constitution of India, titled Organisation
of agriculture and animal husbandry which mentions of prohibition of cow slaughter. I took out my Constitution Bare Act and read again: The
State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for
preserving and improving breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle. If I had not known the
judgments of the Honourable Supreme Court in Mohammed Hanif Quareshi v. State of West Bengal (AIR 1958 SC 731) and State of Gujarat v.
Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab Jamat (2005) 8 SCC 534, I would have ended up with a wrong interpretation of Article 48 to mean that prohibition
of slaughter is only on animals (both cow and its progeny) which are useful, either as milk-giving or as draught (working) ones. But then in
1958, Quareshi decision had made it clear that a total ban on slaughter of cows and calves (both male and female) is valid. But so far as other
such animals in the progeny, such as she-buffaloes, bulls and bullocksare concerned, the ban on slaughter of animals which have ceased to be
draught or milchis not in public interest and hence invalid. Overruling Quareshi in 2005, Mirzapur decision made it explicit that an effective
total ban on slaughter of cow and its progeny is valid. The reasons given were agricultural and economic and also on the finding that cow and
it progeny never becomes useless, even after the cattle cease to breed, to work, or to give milk. They still continue to give dung for fuel,
manure and biogas and, therefore, they cannot be said to be useless. I wonder if the utility of the cattle dung and urine increased from 1958
(Quareshi) to 2005 when the Mirzapur judgment was delivered. Or is it that the earlier court failed to consider such a known fact? It is equally
possible that the later Court over valued the utility factor to buttress the justification on total ban on slaughter. It could even be a camouflage
of the religious factor super added to the utility factor. Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti had observed in his judgment that cow and its progeny, i.e.,
bull, bullocks and calves are worshiped by Hindus on certain auspicious days and that a good number of temples are to be found where the
statue of Nandi or Bull is regularly worshiped. I fail to understand the need for this observation by the Court, when the parties themselves
have not argued onany religious grounds or Article 25, unless judicial process was inclined towards the religious sentiments as well. Going
back to the Constituent Assembly Debates is needed to trace why prohibition of cow slaughter finds a place in the Constitution under a
misleading title of organization of agriculture and animal husbandry. If the purpose is the one in the title, then why should there be an absolute
ban on slaughter of cows, even when they cease to be milch and breeding. There has to be something attached to the cow which makes it
protection prone than a buffalo or an ox or a bull, which are milch or draught as well. One finds it difficult to imagine that it could be religious
reasons because our Constitution establishes a secular state. I would have misunderstood that the call for slaughter prohibition in Article 48 is
indeed for agriculture and animal husbandry purpose, if not for the Constituent Assembly Debates. Was I not shocked to read the debate of
Pandit Thakur Bhargava appealing for ban on cow slaughter by stating that Our ancient sages and Rishis, realising her (cow) importance,
regarded her as very sacred. Here, Lord Krishna was born, who served cows so devotedly that to this day, in affection he is known as Makhan
Chor. Was our Constituent Assembly working on religious emotions and passion while framing the greatest document for a secular nation,
assuring Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship to all its citizens? After reading Bhargava, Seth Govind Das turned out to be a
milder surprise when he stated that,I belong to a family which worships Lord Krishna as Ishtadev. I consider myself a religious minded
person, and have no respect for those people of the present day society whose attitude towards religion and religious minded people is one of
contempt. Shri R.V. Dhulekar was eloquent: It (Justice) means that we shall be protected, our families shall be protected. Andour Hindu
society, or our Indian society, has included the cow in our fold. It is just like our mother. In fact it is more than our mother. I can declare from
this platform that there are thousands of persons who will not run at a man to kill that man for their mother or wife or children, but they will
run at a man if that man does not want to protect the cow or wants to kill her. It appears that these members were keen on inclusion of the
prohibition of cow slaughter clause in the Fundamental Rights. However Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was instrumental in including the provision in
Directive Principles instead of in Fundamental Rights. The inclusion in Fundamental Rights would have made this provision an enforceable
fundamental right, whereas its inclusion in the Directive made it a non-justiciable, nevertheless an enabling provision. Thakur Bhargava had
indeed been generous enough to agree for the inclusion of the provision in the Directive Principles, by stating that I do not want that due to
its (Article 48) inclusion in the Fundamental Rights, non-Hindus should complain that they have been forced to accept a certain thing against
their will. It is interesting to note that two members belonging to the Muslim community, showed great tolerance to the religious demands of
the Hindu members on this matter. Syed Muhammad Saadulla cited an injunction to the Muslims in the Holy Quran La Ikraba fid Din, which
means there ought to be no compulsion in the name of religion. Therefore he expressed that he does not like to use his veto when his Hindu
brethren want to place this matter in the Constitution from a religious point of view. But he stated that the Assembly come out in the open and
say directly: This is part of our religion. The cow should be protected from slaughter and therefore we want its provision either in the
Fundamental Rights or in the Directive Principles. Mr. Z.H. Lari expressed his strong disapproval to the indirect manner in which the provision
found an entry in the Constitution. According to him, the preceding portion of the clause speaking about modern and scientific agriculture and
the subsequent portion banning slaughter of cattle do not fit in with each other. He made it clear that he was not opposing the provision per
se, but demanded clarity in the matter. He said, Let that article be there, but for Gods sake, postpone the discussion of the article and bring
it in clear, definite and unambiguous terms so that we may know where we stand and thereafter there should be no occasion for any
misunderstanding between the two communities on this issue which does not affect religion but which affects practices. Lari preferred that the
clause be rather placed with clarity in Fundamental rights than in the ambiguous way in which it was put in the Directive. He submitted that
In the interests of good-will in the country and of cordial relations between the different communities this is the proper occasion when the
majority should express itself clearly and definitely. The proposal of Bhargava was accepted and Article 48 (draft Article 38 A) was added to
the Constitution on 24th November 1948. Attempts made by the Drafting Committee headed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to change the words of
Article 48 to give it a milder effect was effectively blocked by Thakur Bhargava when the draft Constitution was taken up for approval a year
later on 14th November 1949. The Drafting Committee had redrafted the Article as The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and
animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall in particular, take steps for improving the breeds of milch and draught cattle
including cows and calves and for prohibiting their slaughter. The change made by the Drafting Committee was pointed out to be a
substantial alteration of the provision that was agreed to by the House and therefore the original article as proposed by Bhargava was passed
and Article 48 was added to the Constitution on 16th November 1949. On 25th November 1949, a day before the Constitution was adopted by
the Assembly, Mr. Frank Anthony expressed his strong views on the matter. He said that he resented the insidious way in which Article 48 had

been brought in and stated, I cannot help saying that those fanatics and extremists who could not bring in this provision through the front
door have succeeded in bringing it through the back-door. Sir, I am not a beef eater; I am not holding a brief for beef eaters. I say, you may
ban co-slaughter, but we should have done it honestly without our tongues in our cheeks, without resorting to methods which may give rise to
the accusation of subterfuge. This is exactly the criticism today an objective researcher would make on this matter. I now understand that the
intention of the makers in incorporating prohibition of cow slaughter in Article 48 was religious reasons predominantly, though economic
reasons were projected as well. But Dr. B. R. Ambedkar saw to it that the clause was placed without any religious language. This might have
been a measure of giving in to the majority in the Constituent Assembly which was inevitable on one hand and appeasing the minority on the
other. However the apprehension of Mr. Z.H. Lari turned out to be true as we can see from the disputes in and out of court in respect of Article
48 and the growing religious intolerance in the country arising out of beef eating and prohibition of cow slaughter. It seems there are two kinds
of people in this world those who eat beef and those who dont. Categorizing people on the basis of their eating habits and determining their
corresponding entitlements has a long history tainted with untouchability and social stratification. This is regressive and violative of the
constitutional goals of rule of law and liberty. It is not to be forgotten that secularism is part of basic structure of the Constitution as has been
held in S.R.Bommai v. Union of India (AIR 1994 SC 1918). If that be the case, State should not directly or indirectly enter into policy making or
legislating on religious grounds whatever it may be. On the ground of never-diminishing utility value of the cow, Supreme Court had upheld
complete ban on cow slaughter. It does take courage to call a spade a spade, and calling it by another name wouldnt make it any less a
spade. There is a need to re-look at Article 48 in the light of S.R.Bommai. The beef ban and cow slaughter prohibition laws emanating from
Article 48 have to be in tune with the purpose of the legislation, which cannot be a religious one per se. Any other objective should stand the
test of reasonableness and constitutionality. Citizens are to be sternly told by the government that liberty is to each to believe, to worship, to
eat or not to eat. Matters of religion, like the personal laws are personal to each religion, which they may choose to abide by or not. But no one
can force any of his beliefs on others. I only hope that matters of religion be sorted out in heaven, consequences be faced over there and till
then let us be! Laissez faire!!! Epilogue: Now that I think of my school composition, I feel I should also have noted that I loved watching my
grand motherscow, Karumbi being milked. Sitting on the steps I would curiously watch the calf punching hard on its mothers udder for milk,
and the poor calf being pulled away and tied on a pole, when the milk-man would milk the cow. Achamma* would talk to her Karumbipashu**,
as if to a human. But these fond memories never made me think against beef eating. I believe it is an individual choice and it remains so.
*Paternal grandmother ** A colloquial name meaning black cow REFERENCE Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, 24th November 1948
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume XI, 14th November 1949 Constituent Assembly Debates Volume XI, 16th November 1949 Constituent
Assembly Debates, Volume XI, 25th November 1949 Mohammed HanifQuareshi v. State of West Bengal (AIR 1958 SC 731) S.R.Bommai v.
Union of India (AIR 1994 SC 1918) State of Gujarat v. Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab Jamat (2005) 8 SCC 534 Sandhya Ram is an Asst.
Professor at V.M.Salgaoacar College of Law, Goa
The Views expressed above are personal only and it does not reflect the view of Live Law
Read more at: http://www.livelaw.in/ban-on-cow-slaughter-the-camouflage-of-article-48/

Constitutional validity of Cow Slaughter Ban in Maharashtra a detailed


analysis
By Dr. Ashok Dhamija -

Mar 4, 2015

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Maharashtra Legislature had passed the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, in the year 1995 when the Shiv Sena
BJP ruled the state. This Bill has now been assented to by the President Shri Pranab Mukherjee after a long gap of nearly 19 years. The newly
passed Bill amends the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act of 1976 under which slaughter of cows was already prohibited in Maharashtra.
With this new Amendment, the slaughter of bulls as well as bullocks (which was previously allowed based on a fit-for-slaughter certificate) will
also be banned now. [Note: Copy of the new Amendment is still not available online. Therefore, I am writing this article based on the
information available in media.]

After the news of this Amendment having become law came out, mainstream media and social media have gone overboard with all types of
hate messages. Many people have tried to slam the new law to be on account of the religious views of Hindus and the BJP. Many legal
questions are being raised about the validity of the new law. Questions about the fundamental rights of the butchers are being raised.
Questions about the rights of the beef-eaters have also been raised. Many of the comments appearing on the social media (and, unfortunately
even on the mainstream media, especially in the comments sections) have gone on religious lines, targeting Hindu practices.

The objective of this article is not to reply to the hate messages on the religious lines, but to comment on the constitutional and legal validity
of the new Amendment in law for the state of Maharashtra. Let me point out at the outset itself that the constitutional validity of similar laws
has already been upheld by the Supreme Court and these decisions of the Supreme Court will be discussed in the ensuing paragraphs in
detail.

Firstly, let me point out that there are only 7 States or Union Territories in India (out of a total of 29 States and 7 UTs), namely, Arunachal
Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Lakshadweep, which have no law banning cow slaughter in one form or another.
All other remaining 29 States and UTs have enacted laws to prevent the slaughter of cow and its progeny in one form or another.

However, various State laws banning cattle slaughter are not similar and there are many variations. The laws in Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya
Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh completely ban the slaughter of cow and its progeny, including bulls and bullocks of all ages.
Laws of other States ban slaughter of cow and its progeny in varying degrees. In fact, most of these State laws prohibit the slaughter of cows
of all ages. But, Assam, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal laws permit the slaughter of cows of over a particular age, as laid down in those laws.
There are varying provisions in these State laws for ban on slaughter of calf, bulls and bullocks.

What I would like to say is that it is not that cow slaughter is being banned in any State for the first time. As mentioned above, as many as 29
States or Union Territories (out of a total of 36) already have laws banning slaughter of cow or its progeny. Some of these state laws even

completely ban slaughter of cow and its progeny, for example the Gujarat law. Even in Maharashtra, there is already a law banning cow
slaughter. However, with this new Amendment in the said law, the scope of the ban on slaughter has been extended and it appears from
media reports that now even the slaughter of bulls and bullocks has also been completely banned. Therefore, the new law in Maharashtra
should be seen in the context of the laws already existing in other states that ban (completely or subject to certain conditions) slaughter of
cow and/or its progeny. At the outset itself, let me point out again that these laws have mostly be upheld by the Supreme Court.

Now, let me discuss, in detail, the question of legal and constitutional validity of the laws banning cow slaughter.

Firstly, Entry No. 15 in the State List in Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India lays down as under:

15. Preservation, protection and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases; veterinary training and practice.

This means that the enactment of laws banning the slaughter of cow and its progeny is within the exclusive powers of the State legislatures.
That is why various states have enacted their own laws banning cow slaughter to various degrees, and there are certain states (such as
Kerala) where there is no such law. This also explains as to why there is no Central law on this subject (however, there are certain provisions
in the Constitution which may still allow a Central law on a subject which is in the State List in the Seventh Schedule, under certain situations,
e.g., Articles 249, 250, 252 and 253 of the Constitution).

Secondly, Article 48 of the Constitution lays down a directive principle of state policy which directs (though it is not binding and it is not
enforceable) the State to prohibit cow slaughter, by providing as under:

48. Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry.The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on
modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows
and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

Certain other directive principles contained in the Constitution, which are relevant for this purpose, are Article 48-A and clause (g) of Article
51-A of the Constitution, which are reproduced below:

48-A. Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life.The State shall endeavour to protect
and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.

51-A. Fundamental duties.It shall be the duty of every citizen of India

*** *** ***

(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;.

Therefore, it should be clear at the outset itself that the Constitution itself requires the State to enact laws to ban cow slaughter, and to
protect the environment / forests / wild-life of the country. The Constitution also casts a fundamental duty on every citizen of India to have
compassion for living creatures and to protect and improve environment / forests / wild-life, etc. Therefore, a law banning cow slaughter
should not be considered something that is unconstitutional per se.

Let me now point out that a large number of petitions, etc., have been filed before various High Courts and the Supreme Court challenging
various state laws banning cow slaughter. In fact, this issue has gone even up to a 7-judge bench of the Supreme Court, which is very rare.
Therefore, the question about the validity of the laws banning cow slaughter is no longer res integra. This question has already been decided
by the Supreme Court on various occasions and laws banning cow slaughter have generally been held to be constitutionally valid.

Let us analyse some of these judgments of the Supreme Court where laws banning cow slaughter were challenged.

In the case of Mohd. Hanif Quareshi v. State of Bihar, 1959 SCR 629 : AIR 1958 SC 731, which was decided by a 5-judge Constitution
bench of the Supreme Court, the challenge was to three laws banning the slaughter of certain animals, passed by the States of Bihar, Uttar
Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In Bihar, the Bihar Preservation and Improvement of Animals Act, 1956, was introduced which imposed a total
ban on the slaughter of all categories of animals belonging to the species of bovine cattle. In Uttar Pradesh, the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of
Cow Slaughter Act, 1955, was enacted which also imposed a total ban on the slaughter of cows and her progeny which included bulls,

bullocks, heifers and cows. In the State of Madhya Pradesh, it was the CP and Berar Animal Preservation Act, 1949, which was amended and
applied and it imposed a total ban on the slaughter of cows and female calf of a cow, while the male calf of a cow, bull, bullock, buffalo (male
or female, adult or calf) could be slaughtered only on obtaining a certificate.

Following three grounds for challenging the constitutional validity of these 3 laws were discussed in the above judgment:

1. that the total ban offended the religion of the Muslims as the sacrifice of a cow on a particular day is enjoined or sanctioned by
Islam;
2. that such ban offended the fundamental right guaranteed to the kasais (butchers) under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and
was not a reasonable and valid restriction on their right; and
3. that a total ban was not in the interest of the general public.

The Supreme Court held as under:

1. A total ban on the slaughter of cows of all ages and calves of cows and calves of she-buffaloes, male or female, was quite
reasonable and valid and is in consonance with the directive principles laid down in Article 48;
2. A total ban on the slaughter of she-buffaloes or breeding bulls or working bullocks (cattle as well as buffaloes) as long as they are
capable of being used as milch or draught cattle was also reasonable and valid;
3. A total ban on slaughter of she-buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle or buffalo) after they ceased to be capable of yielding milk or of
breeding or working as draught animals could not be supported as reasonable in the interests of the general public, and was
invalid.

The above-mentioned first ground of challenge (i.e., that the total ban offended the religion of the Muslims as the sacrifice of a cow on a
particular day is enjoined or sanctioned by Islam) was rejected by the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court due to the meagre materials
placed before the Court and the bald allegations and denials made by the parties. It was noticed that many Muslims do not sacrifice cows
on BakrId day. The Supreme Court further observed as under:

It is part of the known history of India that the Moghul Emperor Babar saw the wisdom of prohibiting the slaughter of cows as and by way of
religious sacrifice and directed his son Humayun to follow this example. Similarly, Emperors Akbar, Jehangir and Ahmad Shah, it is said,
prohibited cow slaughter. Nawab Hyder Ali of Mysore made cow slaughter an offence punishable with the cutting of the hands of the offenders.
Three of the members of the Gosamvardhan Enquiry Committee set up by the Uttar Pradesh Government in 1953 were Muslims and
concurred in the unanimous recommendation for total ban on slaughter of cows. We have, however, no material on the record before us which
will enable us to say, in the face of the foregoing facts, that the sacrifice of a cow on that day is an obligatory overt act for a Mussalman to
exhibit his religious belief and idea. In the premises, it is not possible for us to uphold this claim of the petitioners.

Moreover, the challenge to the constitutional validity of the said laws on the basis of the right to equality under Article 14 was also clearly
rejected by the Supreme Court.

The question whether the restrictions permissible under clause (6) of Article 19 of the Constitution may extend to total prohibition [on the
contended fundamental right of the butchers to slaughter animals of their liking or in which they were trading] was treated by Supreme Court
as a vexed question and was left open without expressing any final opinion since the Supreme Court decided to concentrate on the issue as to
whether the restriction was at all reasonable in the interests of the general public, irrespective of the fact whether it could be held to be
partial or total.

After considering a lot of documentary evidence, the Supreme Court arrived at certain findings of fact. The court opined that cow progeny
ceased to be useful as a draught cattle after a certain age and they, although useful otherwise, became a burden on the limited fodder
available which, but for the so-called useless animals, would be available for consumption by milch and draught animals. The Court also noted
that the response of the States in setting up gosadans (protection homes for cows and cow progeny) was very poor. On the basis of these
facts, the Court concluded that in spite of there being a presumption in favour of the validity of the legislation and respect for the opinion of
the legislatures as expressed by the three impugned laws, they were inclined to hold that a total ban of the nature imposed could not be
supported as reasonable in the interests of the general public.

Thereafter, in another case vide Abdul Hakim Quraishi v. State of Bihar, (1961) 2 SCR 610 : AIR 1961 SC 448 : (1961) 1 Cri LJ 573,
which was also decided by a 5-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, certain amendments made to the aforesaid 3 laws in the
States of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh were challenged on the ground of Article 19(1)(g) read with Article 19(6) of the

Constitution. Relying upon the aforesaid earlier decision in the case of Mohd. Hanif Quareshi v. State of Bihar, 1959 SCR 629 : AIR
1958 SC 731, it was held that the ban as imposed by the impugned Act was total and hence an unreasonable restriction.

Similarly, in the case of Mohd. Faruk v. State of M.P., (1969) 1 SCC 853, another 5-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court struck
down a notification issued by the State Government whereby the earlier notification issued by the Jabalpur Municipality, which permitted the
slaughter of bulls and bullocks along with other animals was recalled. Drawing a distinction between cases of control and prohibition, the
Supreme Court held that when the exercise of a fundamental right is prohibited, the burden of proving that a total ban on the exercise of the
right alone would ensure the maintenance of the general public interest lies heavily upon the State. Since the State Government failed in
discharging that burden, the said notification was held struck down.

In the case of Haji Usmanbhai Hasanbhai Qureshi v. State of Gujarat, (1986) 3 SCC 12, the constitutional validity of the provisions of
law amended in Gujarat banning the slaughter of bulls and bullocks below the age of 16 years was challenged. A legislation called the Bombay
Animal Preservation (Gujarat Amendment) Act, 1979, which amended the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954, in its application to Gujarat
State, was passed by the Gujarat Assembly. By insertion of a new sub-section (1-A) in Section 5 of the said Bombay Act, slaughter of a bull
and a bullock below the age of 16 years was banned by clauses (c) and (d) of the said sub-section (1-A), respectively. This amendment
banning the slaughter of bulls and bullocks below the age of 16 years was challenged by the petitioners who pleaded that such a restriction on
their right to carry on the trade or business in beef and allied articles was unreasonable. Another plea on their behalf was that the total ban
offended their religion as qurbani (sacrifice) at the time of BakrId or Id festival is enjoined and sanctioned by Islam. However, the High Court
rejected the challenge on both the grounds. Appeal against this decision of the High Court was dismissed by a 5-judge Constitution bench of
the Supreme Court. As the bulls and bullocks up to the age of 16 years continued to be useful, the prescription of the age of 16 years up to
which they could not be slaughtered was held to be a reasonable restriction, keeping in mind the balance which has to be struck between
public interest which requires useful animals to be preserved, and permitting the said petitioners to carry on their trade and profession. It was
held that the test of reasonableness of the restriction on the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g) was satisfied.

In the case of Hashmattullah v. State of M.P., (1996) 4 SCC 391, a total ban on the slaughter of bulls and bullocks in the State of
Madhya Pradesh imposed in the M.P. Krishik Pashu Parirakshan (Sanshodhan) Adhiniyam, 1991, was challenged. A 3-judge bench of the
Supreme Court struck down the said amending Act as being ultra vires the Constitution.

In State of W.B. v. Ashutosh Lahiri, (1995) 1 SCC 189, an important decision was rendered by a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court. It
was contended that the State of West Bengal had wrongly invoked Section 12 of the West Bengal Animal Slaughter Control Act, 1950, when it
exempted from the operation of the Act, the slaughter of healthy cows on the occasion of BakrId on the ground that such exemption was
required to be given for the religious purpose of Muslim community. The power to grant such an exemption was challenged. The Calcutta High
Court held that such slaughter of cows by members of Muslim community on BakrId day was not a requirement of Muslim religion and,
therefore, such exemption was outside the scope of Section 12 of the Act. Consequently, the impugned order was held to be dehors the
statute. Thus, the High Court struck down the power of the State Government to grant such an exemption. There was a total ban imposed on
the slaughter of healthy cows and other animals mentioned in the Schedule under Section 2 of the Act. The State of West Bengal appealed
against this order of the High Court. In appeal, the Supreme Court held that it was a settled legal position that there was no fundamental
right of Muslims to insist on slaughter of healthy cows on the occasion of BakrId. The contention that not only an essential religious practice
under Article 25(1) of the Constitution, but even optional religious practice could be permitted, was discarded by the Supreme Court. By
upholding the view taken by the High Court, the Supreme Court held as under (para 9 of SCC):

We, therefore, entirely concur with the view of the High Court that slaughtering of healthy cows on BakrId is not essential or required for
religious purpose of Muslims or in other words it is not a part of religious requirement for a Muslim that a cow must be necessarily sacrificed
for earning religious merit on BakrId.

The case of State of Gujarat v. Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab Jamat, (2005) 8 SCC 534, is the most important judgment on the issue
of banning of cow slaughter. This case was decided by a 7-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, which is the largest bench so far
on this issue. The majority decision in this case was delivered by 6 judges (written by Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti) and a minority decision was
delivered by a single judge (Justice A.K. Mathur). The issue in this case related to Section 2 of the Bombay Animal Preservation (Gujarat
Amendment) Act, 1994, which had introduced certain amendments in Section 5 of the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954 (as applicable
to the State of Gujarat).

The effect of the aforesaid amendment was that the slaughter of bull or bullock of any age whatsoever was completely banned (previously,
the ban was only on the slaughter of bulls and bullocks below the age of 16 years), which was under challenge in this case. The complete ban
on the slaughter of cows was already there in the Act and that was not under challenge in this case.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the said Amendment Act are important and its relevant extract are reproduced below:

The existing provisions of the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954 provides for prohibition against the slaughter of cow, calf of a cow, and
the bulls and bullocks below the age of sixteen years. It is an established fact that the cow and her progeny sustain the health of the nation
by giving them the life-giving milk which is so essential an item in a scientifically balanced diet.

The economy of the State of Gujarat is still predominantly agricultural. In the agricultural sector, use of animals for milch, draught, breeding
or agricultural purposes has great importance. It has, therefore, become necessary to emphasise preservation and protection of agricultural
animals like bulls and bullocks. With the growing adoption of non-conventional energy sources like biogas plants, even waste material has
come to assume considerable value. After the cattle cease to breed or are too old to do work, they still continue to give dung for fuel, manure
and biogas, and therefore, they cannot be said to be useless. It is well established that the backbone of Indian agriculture is, in a manner of
speaking, the cow and her progeny and have on their back, the whole structure of the Indian agriculture and its economic system.

In order to give effect to the policy of the State towards securing the principles laid down in Articles 47, 48 and clauses (b) and (c) of Article
39 of the Constitution, it was considered necessary also to impose total prohibition against slaughter of progeny of cow.

*** *** ***.

Likewise, the Preamble to the above Amendment Act is also of significance and is reproduced below:

WHEREAS it is established that cow and her progeny sustain the health of the nation by giving them the life-giving milk which is so essential
an item in a scientifically balanced diet;

AND WHEREAS the working bullocks are indispensable for our agriculture for they supply power more than any other animal;

AND WHEREAS the working bullocks are often useful in ploughing the fields, drawal of water from the wells and also very useful for drawing
carts for transporting grain and fodder from the fields to the residences of farmers as well as to the agricultural market yards;

AND WHEREAS the dung of the animal is cheaper than the artificial manures and extremely useful for production of biogas;

AND WHEREAS it is established that the backbone of Indian agriculture is, in a manner of speaking, the cow and her progeny and have, on
their back, the whole structure of the Indian agriculture and its economic system;

AND WHEREAS it is expedient to give effect to the policy of the State towards securing the principles laid down in Articles 47, 48 and in
clauses (b) and (c) of Article 39 of the Constitution and to protect, preserve and sustain cow and its progeny;

This Amendment Act was challenged before the Gujarat High Court and it had been struck down as ultra vires the Constitution by the High
Court. This order of the High Court was under challenge before the above 7-judge bench of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, by a detailed judgment examining all relevant issues and reviewing all previous judgments, by a majority decision of 6-1,
set aside the aforesaid order of the Gujarat High Court and upheld the constitutional validity of the Bombay Animal Preservation (Gujarat
Amendment) Act, 1994, which had introduced the aforesaid amendments in Section 5 of the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954 (as
applicable to the State of Gujarat) as per which even the slaughter of bulls and bullocks of any age whatsoever was completely banned in
addition to the complete ban of the slaughter of cows.

It is pertinent to note that this 7-judge decision of the Supreme Court reversed / overruled the earlier 5-judge bench decisions in the
aforesaid cases of Mohd. Hanif Quareshi v. State of Bihar, 1959 SCR 629 : AIR 1958 SC 731, and Abdul Hakim Quraishi v. State of
Bihar, (1961) 2 SCR 610 : AIR 1961 SC 448 : (1961) 1 Cri LJ 573, etc., to the extent they had ruled that a total ban on slaughter of
bulls and bullocks cannot be made on the ground of Article 19(1)(g) read with Article 19(6) of the Constitution.

The 7-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that:

In the light of the material available in abundance before us, there is no escape from the conclusion that the protection conferred by the
impugned enactment on cow progeny is needed in the interest of the nations economy. Merely because it may cause inconvenience or some

dislocation to the butchers, restriction imposed by the impugned enactment does not cease to be in the interest of the general public. The
former must yield to the latter.

The Supreme Court repelled all arguments on the grounds of fundamental rights under Article 14, Article 19(1)(g), etc., of the Constitution to
challenge the aforesaid total ban on the slaughter of cow and its progeny. The argument based on religion or on fundamental right under
Article 25 of the Constitution was not discussed since none of parties tried to build its case on these grounds; however, still the Court took
note of the above-mentioned observations of the 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the case ofState of W.B. v. Ashutosh Lahiri,
(1995) 1 SCC 189, to the effect that slaughtering of healthy cows on BakrId is not essential or required for religious purpose of Muslims
and the Court also made following observations:

Slaughtering of cows on BakrId is neither essential to nor necessarily required as part of the religious ceremony. An optional religious
practice is not covered by Article 25(1). On the contrary, it is common knowledge that the cow and its progeny i.e. bull, bullocks and calves
are worshipped by Hindus on specified days during Diwali and other festivals like Makar Sankranti and Gopashtmi. A good number of temples
are to be found where the statue of Nandi or Bull is regularly worshipped. .

Conclusion:

Thus, the aforesaid analysis of the provisions of the Constitution and various judgments of the Supreme Court, unequivocally shows that even
a total ban on the slaughter of cow and its progeny is absolutely constitutional. A total ban on slaughter of cow and its progeny is fully
permissible under the Constitution of India. Moreover, as mentioned above, many States / UTs in India have already banned cow slaughter
either totally or partially; and such ban has been upheld by the courts. So, Maharashtra is not the first or the only State to ban slaughter of
cow and its progeny.

Thus, there does not appear to be anything illegal or unconstitutional in the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, which
has been assented to by the President of India, and which has now become a law of the land for the State of Maharashtra.

As mentioned above, I have confined my analysis only to the legal issues and I have preferred not to reply to the religious issues. If need be,
at a later stage, I may reply to those other issues as well, which I dont think to be necessary at this stage. At this stage, it suffices to say
that the constitutionality of the laws banning slaughter of cow and its progeny has been upheld by the Supreme Court on secular grounds on
the basis of the provisions existing in the Constitution. Therefore, my humble request is to everybody to desist from making hate speeches on
religious grounds on this issue