The Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench while dealing with a plea filed by an accused asserted that anyone who kills cows or allows others to kill them is deemed to rot in hell for as many years as there is hair upon his body.

The Court said that it hopes and trusts that the Central Government may take steps to ban cow slaughter and declare the cow as a ‘protected national animal’.

A Single Bench of Justice Shamim Ahmed held, “Anyone who kills cows or allows others to kill them is deemed to rot in hell as many years as there are hairs upon his body. Likewise, the bull is depicted as a vehicle of Lord Shiva: a symbol of respect for the male cattle. … This Court also hope and trust that the Central Government may take appropriate decision to ban cow slaughtering in the country and to declare the same as 'protected national animal'.”

The Bench noted that as per the legends, Brahma gave life to priests and cows same time so that the priests could recite religious scriptures while cows could afford ghee (clarified butter) as an offering in rituals.

“We are living in a secular country and must have respect for all religions and in Hinduism, the belief and faith is that cow is representative of divine and natural beneficence and should therefore be protected and venerated. The cow has also been associated with various deities, notably Lord Shiva (whose steed is Nandi, a bull) Lord Indra (closely associated with Kamadhenu, the wise-granting cow), Lord Krishna (a cowherd in his youth), and goddesses in general (because of the maternal attributes of many of them)”, the Court also noted.

Advocates Akhtar Jahan and Bahar Ali appeared for the accused while AGAs Prem Prakash, Kiran Singh, and Hari Shankar Vajpayee appeared for the State.

Brief Facts

An application was filed by the applicant/accused under Section 482 of the Cr.PC. with a prayer to quash the charge sheet as well as the entire proceeding arising out of a case under Sections 3, 5, and 8 of the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955 which was pending before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate.

The police saw one person coming holding a sack, and on seeing police personnel he tried to return back, but the police caught him and, on his search, beef of cow progeny was found in the sack held by him. On interrogation, the said person told that he along with the accused was involved in cow slaughtering and was going to Lucknow for selling the same.

In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court observed, “… the contention of the learned counsel for the applicant that no offence against the applicant is disclosed and the present prosecution has been instituted with a malafide intention for the purposes of harassment, has no force. … The cow is the most sacred of all the animals of Hinduism. It is known as Kamadhenu, or the divine cow, and the giver of all desires. According to legend, she emerged from the ocean of milk at the time of Samudramanthan or the great churning of the ocean by the gods and demons. She was presented to the seven sages, and in the course of time came into the custody of sage, Vasishta.”

The Court further observed that the cow’s legs symbolise four Vedas, her source of milk is four Purushartha, her horns symbolise the gods, her face the sun and moon, and her shoulders agni or the god of fire, and she has also been described in other forms: Nanda, Sunanda, Surabhi, Susheela, and Sumana.”

“The origin of the veneration of the cow can be traced to the Vedic period (2nd millennium 7th century BCE). The Indo-European peoples who entered India in the 2nd millennium BCE were pastoralists; cattle had major economic significance that was reflected in their religion. The slaughter of milk- producing cows was increasingly prohibited. It is forbidden in parts of the Mahabharata, the great Sanskrit epic, and in the religious and ethical code known as the Manu-Smirti ("Tradition of Manu"), and the milk cow was already in the Rigveda said to be "unslayable", said the Court.

The Court noted that the degree of veneration afforded the cow is indicated by the use in rites of healing purification, and penance of the panchagavya, the five products of the cow- milk, curd, butter, urine, and dung.

“… with the rise of the ideal of Ahimsa ("non-injury"), the absence of the desire to harm living creatures, the cow came to symbolize a life of nonviolent generosity. In addition, because her products supplied nourishment, the cow was associated with motherhood and Mother Earth and legislation against cow killing persisted into the 20th century in many princely states”, the Court also said.

The Court further asserted that as per the Puranas, nothing is more religious than the gift of cows and that Lord Rama was given a gift of many cows.

“In the Mahabharata, Bhishma (grandfather of the leaders of warring factions) observes that the cow acts as a surrogate mother by providing milk to human beings for a lifetime, so she is truly the mother of the world. … In the late 19th and 20th century, in India, a movement to protect cows arose that strove to unify the citizens by demanding 8 that the Government of India ban cow slaughter with immediate effect in the country”, said the Court.

The Court, therefore, held that it would not embark upon an inquiry as it is the function of the Trial Judge/Court and the interference at the threshold of quashing of the charge sheet/criminal proceedings cannot be said to be exceptional as it discloses prima facie commission of an offence.

Accordingly, the Court set aside the application of the accused.

Cause Title- Mohd. Abdul Khaliq v. State of U.P. and Another

Click here to read/download the Judgment