An order passed by the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana said that 'cow was a sacred national wealth'. Justice B Siva Sankara Rao in his March 1 order had even held that slaughter of cows for Bakrid was not an essential religious practice under Islam.
An order that was passed in March by the Andhra HC is now gaining media attention. On a petition seeking custody of 63 cows and 2 bulls from a Gaushala, Justice Siva Sankara Rao held, "In this Country-the Bharat, for those in belief who represent a majority of the population, the cow is a substitute for mother, who is a substitute to God. The cow, in particular, acquires a special sanctity and was called "Aghnya" (not to be slain). Thus, the cow is a sacred national wealth and no one merely owned can claim, but for to rear, either to kill or to sell for slaughter."
The petitioner had approached the court after the police seized his cattle. Police told the petitioner that the cattle was being shifted to a Gaushala since they received information that cows and bulls had been procured to be offered for slaughter during Bakrid. A case under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Prohibition of Cows Slaughter and Animal Preservation Act II of 1977 was registered against the owner.
The petitioner moved the High Court after a lower court held that there was a prima facie case under the 1977 Act. Petitioner contended that sacrifices to God in the religious functions is not an offence. The High Court bench quoted the Veda, Upanishads as well as the Bible and laws passed by Muslim rulers in India to express its views against the killing of animals, especially cows.
The court even said that only those who have knowledge of Vedas and those who are spiritually developed understand why one should abstain from all animal killing. The court concluded that there is no fundamental right of Muslims to insist on the slaughter of healthy cows on the occasion of Bakrid.
The petition was dismissed by the court that urged for amendments to the law with stringent penal consequences and better enforcement of Prevention of Cruelty against Animals by amending the Act.