‘We are the legal guardians of cows in the state’ says High Court

Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court has shockingly invoked the parents patriae clause (legal protector) for “the welfare of cows and other stray cattle in Uttarakhand.”

A division bench headed by CJ Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Sharma Tiwari decided on invoking this clause for the cattle’s protection across the State while hearing a PIL alleging abandoned cattle being slaughtered in Haridwar district,TOI reported.

The division bench’s order was pronounced on 10 August while its certified copy was made available on Monday.

The bench had also cited various references from the Apex Court’s along with pieces of quotes from the Upanishads and Arthashastra as well as teachings of Jainism and Buddhism and quotes of Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama on the importance of caring about animals.

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, regarding the cattle owners whose cattle are found on streets, directed the government officials to register cases 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.

The Court stressed upon how cattle should be treated. It 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.