Innocent animals cannot be sacrificed for public comfort: Gujarat HC on deaths impounded cattle


PTI, Dec 12, 2023, 3:43 PM IST

Innocent animals cannot be sacrificed for public comfort, the Gujarat High Court said on Tuesday on the death of 30 cows that were impounded and kept in a cattle pound as per the state government’s policy to address the stray cattle menace.

The division bench of Justices Ashutosh Shastri and Hemant Prachchhak said the photograph of carcasses of cows dumped in an open land belonging to the Nadiad Municipal Corporation was ”very disturbing and shocking”. The court sought a report from the district collector regarding the same.

The court took on record an affidavit filed by Nadiad resident Maulik Shrimali in a contempt of court plea over a PIL seeking its direction to curb cattle menace.

Shrimali, in his affidavit, stated that he came across carcasses of 30 cows butchered and thrown in an open parcel of land probably belonging to the Nadiad Municipal Corporation after reading a news report about the deaths of the animals in a cattle pound.

”Very disturbing and shocking …We feel that under the guise of regulating and implementing a policy, these innocent animals cannot be sacrificed. For the comfort of human lives, we cannot allow such a thing,” Justice Shastri observed.

”If this is happening, even God will not forgive us. Innocent animals cannot be done away like this. …Not a single innocent animal shall be sacrificed on account of public comfort. …This may be a part of some design,” he said.

The court then instructed the district collector to probe the issue and submit a report, providing details about cattle pounds set up for stray cattle and treatment the animals are given there.

It also asked the government to provide the number of operational cattle pounds and whether the regular needs of cattle were met at these facilities.

”Implement the policy with proper steps, but at the same time this situation also may be taken care of in accordance with law,” it said.

The state government had earlier informed the court that it issued a circular formulating a policy/guideline on August 21, 2023, to prevent the stray cattle menace in eight municipal corporations and 157 municipality areas, and all the urban bodies have been directed to comply with it.

The policy requires mandatory permit and license for a person keeping cattle for personal and commercial use, tagging of cattle with radio frequency identification (RFID) chip and tag, impounding of cattle and penalty to the owner in case of violation, fine for stray cattle defecating on roads and roadsides, creation of ”no cattle zones,” and creation of de-centralised cattle pound, among others.

Considering the action-taken report, the court said in its earlier order that the authorities are ”now determined to implement the directions in true letter and spirit”.

”We appreciate the initiation of steps of authorities and admire the efforts which have been put in by activating the machinery from the highest authority to ground level and we expect that such stringent measures in the interest of the public at large will continue to be taken in the right spirit without any interception or disruption,” it had said.

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