The Allahabad High Court in its recent observation urged the Central government to ban cow slaughter in the country and declare the cattle as 'protected national animal'.
A single-judge bench of Justice Shamim Ahmed observed that as per puranas, anyone who kills cows or allows others to kill them is deemed to rot in hell since the cow is the 'representative of divine in Hinduism'.
According to a report by Bar and Bench, the court observed, "Legends also state that 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 offering in rituals. Anyone who kills cows or allows others to kill them is deemed to rot in hell for 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."
Ahmed was hearing a case based on a plea filed by one Mohd. Abdul Khaliq who sought the quashing of the criminal case filed against him for cow slaughtering and transportation for sale. Refusing to quash his plea, the Bench made detailed observations on cow protection and the importance of cows in Hinduism.
"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)...it is known as Kamadhenu, or the divine cow, and the giver of all desires," the order stated.
The bench of Justice Shamim Ahmed also observed that since India is a secular country where we must have respect for all religions and in Hinduism, since the cow is believed to be the representative of divine and natural beneficence, and therefore, it should be protected and venerated.
Opposing Khaliq's plea, the state counsel submitted that a cow and its progeny cannot be transported within Uttar Pradesh without a permit as per section 5A of the Cow Slaughter Act and regulation on the transport of cows.
However, this is not the first time when the court has made an observation on issues around cows and their protection. In August 2022, the HC observed that the mere transportation of a cow and its progeny within the state was not a violation of any of the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Cow Slaughter Act. The court maintained that no permit was required to transport cows within the state.
In September 2021, the Allahabad High Court said that the cow should be declared as the national animal and gau raksha (cow protection) be included as a fundamental right of Hindus. The judge, while denying bail to a person from Sambhal who had been jailed on charges of allegedly stealing a cow and slaughtering it, shared his belief that the cow was the only animal that inhaled and exhaled oxygen. Invoking mythology at several places in the 12-page order, the judge further stated that there was a tradition of offering cow ghee (clarified butter) to Hindu gods which provided ‘special energy’ to the sun.