The Allahabad High Court recently delivered a significant judgment emphasizing that the transportation of cows and their progeny within the state of Uttar Pradesh does not constitute an offence under the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955. Consequently, the court ruled that such vehicles cannot be seized or confiscated by the authorities for in-state transportation.
Justice Karunesh Singh Pawar further clarified that when cows and their progenies are being transported within the state of Uttar Pradesh, no show-cause notice under Section 5-A of the Act can be issued by the District Magistrate.
Understanding the Legal Context
The judgment delves into the nuances of Section 5-A of the Cow Slaughter Act, which regulates the transport of cows and their progeny. The section stipulates that when cows or their progeny are transported from within the state to any location outside the state, a permit must be obtained from the authorized officer.
The case originated from an FIR filed in November 2022, under sections 3, 5, and 8 of the UP Cow Slaughter Act. The allegations stated that seven individuals were carrying cows and their progeny in a vehicle. The vehicle was subsequently seized, leading to proceedings against the petitioner under Section 5-A(7) of the Cow Slaughter Act. The District Magistrate issued a show-cause notice and initiated an inquiry.
The petitioner responded by denying the allegations. The reply pointed out that the vehicle in question was not used for transporting cows and their progeny, and no beef was recovered from it. Despite this, in March of the following year, the District Magistrate issued an order under Section 5-A(7), confiscating the vehicle in favor of the State Government. The basis for the confiscation was the claim that the vehicle was involved in the interstate transportation of cows and their progeny.
The appellate court upheld the order, prompting the petitioner to approach the Allahabad High Court seeking various reliefs.
Court’s Observations and Findings
Upon scrutinizing Section 5-A(1) of the Cow Slaughter Act, the court found no evidence to suggest that the recovered cows were being transported from within Uttar Pradesh to another state. As a result, the court concluded that a permit was not required in these particular circumstances.
The court cited a previous order in Kailash Yadav and Others vs. State of U.P. & others (2008), which clarified that no permit was necessary for the transportation of cows or their progeny within the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The court also referred to its order in the case of Mohd. Shakibvs. State of U.P. (2022), asserting that the mere transportation of a cow and its progeny within the state of Uttar Pradesh does not violate any provisions of the UP Cow Slaughter Act.
In light of these legal precedents and the absence of interstate transportation, the court determined that Section 5-A of the Act did not apply to this case. As a result, it set aside the show-cause notice, confiscation order, and the appellate order, deeming them legally flawed.
The court allowed the appeal and instructed the opposing parties to release the vehicle promptly, in accordance with the applicable law and under terms deemed appropriate. This judgment reinforces that in-state transportation of cows and their progeny within Uttar Pradesh does not breach the provisions of the Cow Slaughter Act.