Loading...

Mohd. Hanif Quareshi & Others vs The State Of Bihar(And Connected … on 23 April, 1958

Supreme Court of India
Mohd. Hanif Quareshi & Others vs The State Of Bihar(And Connected … on 23 April, 1958
Equivalent citations: 1958 AIR 731, 1959 SCR 629
Author: S R Das
Bench: Das, Sudhi Ranjan (Cj), Aiyyar, T.L. Venkatarama, Das, S.K., Gajendragadkar, P.B., Bose, Vivian
           PETITIONER:
MOHD.  HANIF QUARESHI & OTHERS

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
THE STATE OF BIHAR(and connected petition)

DATE OF JUDGMENT:
23/04/1958

BENCH:
DAS, SUDHI RANJAN (CJ)
BENCH:
DAS, SUDHI RANJAN (CJ)
AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMA
DAS, S.K.
GAJENDRAGADKAR, P.B.
BOSE, VIVIAN

CITATION:
 1958 AIR  731		  1959 SCR  629


ACT:
       Cow     slaughter-Legislation	Placing	   total     ban-If
       Constitutional -Directive Principles of State Policy,  value
       of-Fundamental		    rights		 Reasonable
       restrictions--Test-Intention  in Supreme Court  Proceedings,
       when  permissible-Bihar	Preservation  and  Improvement	 of
       Animals	Act, 1955 (Bihar II of 1956)-U.	 P. Preve  lion	 of
       Cow Slaughter Act, 1955 (U.  P. 1 of 1956)-C.  P. and  Berar
       Animal  Preservation  Act,  1949 (C.  P. and  Berar  LII	 of
       1949)-Constitution  of  India, Arts.  14,  19,  48---Supreme
       Court Rules, 0. XLI, r. 2.



HEADNOTE:
The Bihar Preservation and Improvement of Animals Act  ,955,
put  a	total  ban on the slaughter  of	 all  categories  of
animal,,  of  the  species  of bovine  cattle.	 The  U.  P.
Prevention  of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955, put a total  ban  on
the slaughter of cows and her progeny which included  bulls,
bullocks,  heifers and calves.	The C. P. and  Berar  Animal
Preservation Act, 1949, placed a total ban on the  slaughter
of cows, male or female calves of cow, bulls, bullocks,	 and
heifers	 and  the slaughter of buffaloes  (male	 or  female,
adults	or  calves) was permitted only under  a	 certificate
granted by the proper authorities.  No exception was made in
any  of these Acts permitting slaughter of cattle  even	 for
bona fide religious purposes.  These three Acts were enacted
in  pursuance  of the directive principles of  State  policy
contained in Art. 48 Of the Constitution.  The	petitioners,
who  were engaged in the butcher's trade and its  subsidiary
undertakings, challenged the constitutional validity of	 the
three  Acts on the grounds that they infringed their  funda-
mental rights guaranteed under Arts. 14, 19(1)(g) and 25  of
the  Constitution.   The  respondents  contended  that	 the
impugned  Acts	were constitutional and valid as  they	were
made in consonance with the directive principles of Art-  48
which  were superior to the fundamental rights and that	 the
impugned Acts did not offend Art. 14, 19(1)(g) or 25
Held,  (i) that a total ban on the slaughter of cows of	 all
ages  and  calves  of cows and of  she-buffaloes,  male	 and
female, was quite reasonable and valid;
(ii)that  a total ban on the slaughter of  she-buffaloes  or
breeding  bulls	 or  working bullocks  (cattle	as  well  as
buffaloes),  as long as they were capable of being  used  as
milch or draught cattle, was also reasonable and valid; and
(iii)  that a total ban on the slaughter  of  she-buffaloes,
bulls
630
and  bullocks  (cattle or buffalo) after they ceased  to  be
capable	 of  yielding  milk or of  breeding  or	 working  as
draught	 animals  was not in the interests  of	the  general
public and was invalid.
The directive in Art. 48 for taking steps for preventing the
slaughter  of  animals is quite explicit  and  positive	 and
contemplates   a  ban  on  the	slaughter  of  the   several
categories  of animals specified therein, namely,  cows	 and
calves	and  other cattle which answer	the  description  of
milch or draught cattle.  The protection is confined only to
cows and calves and to those animals which are presently  or
potentially  capable  of yielding milk or of doing  work  as
draught	 cattle but does not extend to cattle which  at	 one
time  were milch or draught cattle but which have ceased  to
be  such.  The directive principles of State policy set	 out
in Part IV of the Constitution have to conform to and run as
subsidiary to the fundamental rights in Part 111.
State of Madras v. Smt.	 Champakam Dorairajan, [1951] S.C.R.
525, followed.
The  ban on the slaughter of cows even on the slaughter	 day
did  not violate the fundamental rights of  the	 petitioners
under  Art.  25	 as it had not	been  established  that	 the
sacrifice  of a cow on that day was an obligatory overt	 act
for a Mussalman to exhibit his religious belief and idea.
Ratilal	 Panachand  Gandhi v. The State	 of  Bombay,  [1954]
S.C.R. 1055, applied.
The  impugned  Acts  which affected only  the  butchers	 who
slaughtered  cattle  and not the  butchers  who	 slaughtered
sheep or goats, did not offend Art. 14 Of the  Constitution.
The  different	categories of animals being  susceptible  of
classification	into separate groups on the basis  of  their
usefulness  to society, the butchers who kill each  category
may  also  be placed in distinct classes  according  to	 the
effect	produced  on  society by the carrying  on  of  their
respective occupations.	 This classification is based on  an
intelligible  differentia which places the petitioners in  a
well  defined  class and distinguishes them from  those	 who
slaughter  sheep or goats and this differentia has  a  close
connection with the object sought to be achieved by the	 im-
pugned	Acts,  namely,	the  preservation,  protection	 and
improvement of livestock.
In  determining	 the  question	of  the.  reasonableness  of
restrictions imposed on the fundamental rights conferred  by
Art.  19(1)(g) the Court cannot proceed on a general  notion
of  what  is  reasonable  in the abstract  or  even  on	 the
consideration  of what is reasonable from the point of	view
of  the	 person	 or persons on	whom  the  restrictions	 are
imposed.   What the Court has to do is to  consider  whether
the restrictions imposed are reasonable in the interests  of
the  general  public.  The test of reasonableness  has	been
laid  down in State of Madras v. I.  G. Row,  [1952]  S.C.R.
597  at	 602.	It  should  also  be  remembered  that	 the
legislature
631
is the best judge of what is good for the community.  Though
a  constitutional question cannot be decided on the  grounds
of  the sentiment of a section of the people, it has  to  be
taken  into  consideration,  though  only  as  one  of	 the
elements,  in  arriving	 at a judicial	verdict	 as  to	 the
reasonableness of the restrictions.
The effect of the impugned Acts on the fundamental rights of
the   petitioners   under  Art.	 19(1)(g)  is	direct	 and
instantaneous  as soon as the Acts are brought	into  force,
and  it has to be determined whether they can  be  justified
under  cl. (6) of Art. 19 The country is in short supply  of
milch  cattle,	breeding bulls and working bullocks,  and  a
total  ban on the slaughter of these which are essential  to
the  national economy for the supply of	 milk,	agricultural
working power and manure is a reasonable restriction in	 the
interests  of  the general public.  But a total ban  on	 the
slaughter of useless cattle, which involves a wasteful drain
on the nation's cattle feed which is itself in short  supply
and  which  would deprive the useful cattle of	much  needed
nourishment,  cannot be justified as being in the  interests
of the general public.
Under O. XLI r. 2, Of file Supreme Court Rules	intervention
is  permitted only to the Attorney-General of India  or	 the
Advocates-General  for	the  States.   There  is  no   other
provision  for permitting a third party to intervene in	 the
proceedings before the Supreme Court.  In practice, however,
the  Supreme  Court, in- exercise of  its  inherent  powers,
allows a third party to	 intervene when such third party  is
a  party to some proceedings in the Supreme Court or in	 the
High  Courts  where  the same or similar  questions  are  in
issue,	for the decision of the Supreme Court will  conclude
the case of that party.



JUDGMENT:

ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Petitions Nos. 58, 83, 84, 103, 117,
126, 127, 128, 248, 144 & 145 of 1956 & 129 of 1957.
Petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution of India for
enforcement of Fundamental Rights.

H. J. Umrigar, N. H. Hingorani and A. G. Ratnaparkhi, for
the petitioners in all the petitions except Petition No. 103
of 1956. The impugned Acts infringe the fundamental rights
under Art. 19(1)(g) of the petitioners who are butchers,
tanners, gut merchants, curers and cattle dealers to carry
on their respective trades. Where, as in the present case,
the enactment on the face of it violates a fundamental right
the burden lies on those who support it to show that it
falls within the purview of cl. (6) of Art. 19. Saghir,
Ahmed v. The State of U.P., ([1955] 1 S.C.R. 707 at 726);

632

Chiranjitlal Chowdhuri v. The Union of India, ([1950] S.C.R.
869 at 891-892). The impugned Acts put a total ban on the
trade and business of the petitioners who kill only cattle.
Total prohibition of a trade which is not immoral or
obnoxious can never be reasonable restriction within the
meaning of el. (6) of Art. 19. Chintaman Rao v. The State
of Madhya Pradesh, ([1950] S.C.R. 759 at 765); R.M.
Sheshadri v. The District Magistrate ( [1955] 1 S.C.R. 686
at 689, 690); Cooverjee B. Bharucha v. The Excise Commis-
sioner, ( [1954] S.C.R. 873); Rashid Ahmed. The Municipal
Board, Kairana, ([1950] S.C.R. 566). Total ban on the
slaughter of cattle is not in the interests of the general
public. Animal husbandry will suffer by a total ban. There
is shortage of fodder and pasture in the country and the
useless and uneconomic cattle will deprive the useful cattle
of these things. Setting up of Gosadans for the uneconomic
cattle will be a tremendous waste of public money. [Counsel
referred to various official reports in this connection.]
The impugned Acts create an odious discrimination between
butchers and persons dealing solely in cows, bulls, etc.,
and those dealing in sheep and goats, and offend Art. 14.
These Acts which single out the petitioners’ community which
kills only cows, bulls, etc., are hostile and discriminatory
legislation. Ye Cong Eng v. Trinidad, (70 L. Ed. 1059 at
1071); Fowler v. Rhode Island, (97 L. Ed. 828); Lane v.
Wilson, (83 L. Ed. 1281 at 1287); Ligget Co. v. Baldrige,
(73 L. Ed. 204).

The impugned Acts also contravene Art. 25 as they prohibit
the Mussalmans from performing the religious practice of the
community to sacrifice the cow on the occasion of Bakr Id.
Ratilal Panachand Gandhi v. The State of Bombay,
([1954]
S.C.R. 1055 at 1063).

The directive principles of State policy set out in Art. 48
can never override fundamental rights. The State of Madras
v. Sm. Champakam Dorairajan,
([1951]) S.C.R. 525 at 530);
Saghir Ahmed’s Case, ( [1955] ) 1 S.C.R. 707 at 727). The
impugned Acts traverse, beyond the directive principles in
Art. 48.

633

The Bihar and the Madhya Pradesh Acts which affect inter-
State trade in cattle and beef offend Art. 301 and are void
as the assent of the President was riot taken before
enacting them.

Frank Anthony and K. L. Mehta, for the petitioners in
Petition No. 103 of 1956. Section 9 of the U. P. Prevention
of Cow Slaughter Act makes the slaughtering of cattle a
cognisable and non-bailable offence. This and other
provisions of the Act are ex facie restrictions on the right
of the petitioners to carry on their trade. The onus is on
the respondents to show that the restrictions are reasonable
restrictions in the interests of the general public.
Chintaman Rao v. The State of Madhya Pradesh, ([1950] S. C.
R. 759 at 763); Seghir Ahmed v. The State of U. P., ([1955]
1 S. C. It. 707 at 726). The legislation is colourable and
mala fide and is inspired by religious motives. State of
Madras v. V. G. Rao,
([1952] S. C. R. 597). Article 48 in
so far as its imposes blanket ban on cow would have to yield
to Art. 19 (1) (g). The restrictions in the Act amount to
total prohibition and extinction of the trade of beef
butchers. Saghir Ahmed’s case; Dwarka Prasad Laxmi Narain
v. The State of U. P., ( [1954] S.C.R. 803), Fairmout
Creamery Co. v. Minnesota, (71 L. Ed. 893 it 897). The
impugned Act offends Art. 14 as it discriminates against the
beef butchers. These butchers have a legal right to
slaughter cow for food or sacrifice. Naubahar Singh v.
Qadir Bux, (A. 1. R. 1930 All. 753); Shahbazkhan v. Umrao
Puri, (I. L. R. 30 All. 181); Emperor -v. Muhammad Yakub,
(I. L. R. 32 All. 571).

C. K. Daphtary, Solicitor-General of India, with Mahabir-
Prasad, Advocate-General of Bihar and S. P. Varma
(respondent in Petitions Nos. 58, 83 and 84 of 1956), and
with R. H. Dhebar, for the State of Bombay (respondent in
Petition No. 117 of 1956). The legislature has thought fit
that slaughter of cattle should be stopped in the inter
states of animal husbandry and public policy. It is not for
the Court to say that such a policy should not have been
adopted. Both on the question of policy at-id the extent of
the restrictions
634
the Court should interfere only if it is convinced that in
no view of the matter could the restrictions be reasonable.
There are two conflicting opinions on this controversial
matter, i. e., whether there should be total ban or only
partial ban. In such a case the opinion of the legislators
must prevail and the Court should not interfere where there
is controversy as to facts. State of -Madras v. V. G. Rao,
([1952] S. C. R. 597 at 606); The State of Bihar v.
Maharajadhiraja Sir Kameshwar Singh,
([1952] S. C. R. 889 at

941); Arumugham v. State of Madras, (I. L. R. [1953] Mad.

937). Unless it can be said that the restrictions have no
bearing on the object sought to be achieved the legislation
must be upheld. Article 37 enjoins the State to apply the
directive principles of State policy in Part IV of the
Constitution in making law., The legislation is in
accordance with the direction given in Art. 48.
The object of the legislation is not to control any trade or
industry but to improve the breed of cattle and to organise
animal husbandry and agriculture. Unless the legislation
directly hits trade or business it does not infringe Art. 19
(1) (g). A. K. Gopalan v. The State, ( [1950] S. C. R. 88
at 101); Ram Singh v. The State of Delhi, ( [1951] S. C. R.
451 at 455-457); R. S. Ram Jawaya Kapur v. The State of
Punjab, ([1955] 2 KS. C. R. 225); State of Bombay v. R. M.
D. Chamar-baugwala,
( A. I. R. 1957 S. C. 699 at 721).
B.Sen and R. H. Dhebar, for the State of Bombay (respondent
in Petitions Nos. 126 to 128 and 248 of 1956), and for the
State of Madhya Pradesh (respondent in Petition No. 144 of
1956).

M.Adhicary, Advocate-General for the, State of Madhya
Pradesh and I. N. Shroff, for the State of Madhya Pradesh
(respondent in Petition No. 145 of 1956), adopted the
arguments of C. K. Daphtary.

H. N. Sanyal, Additional Solicitor-General of India, G.C.
Mathur and C. P. Lal, for the State of U. P. (respondent in
Petitions Nos. 103 of 1956 and 129 of 1957). The provisions
of the U. P. Act have a reasonable relation to the purpose
in view i. e. the directive
635
in Art. 48 and consequently the Act cannot be said to offend
Art. 19 (1) (g). Chintaman Rao v. The State of Madhya
Pradesh, ([1950] S. C. R. 759 at 763). According to the
facts and figures given in the Gosamvardhan Enquiry
Committee’s Report the cattle population was actually
decreasing and total ban on slaughter was necessary to
protect and preserve the cattle. The State of U. P. had
made ample provisions for looking after the decrepit cattle,
and such cattle also was not uneconomic as it yielded hides
and manure.

The U. P. Act which prohibits the slaughter of cattle but
not that of buffaloes does not offend Art. 14 as the
discrimination is based upon proper classification. The
buffalo does not require any protection. The female buffalo
is in no danger as its yield of milk is very high. The he-
buffalo is not very useful for draught purposes and there is
no need to protect it. Besides, the buffalo population is
steadily increasing.

The U. P. Act does not violate Art. 25. Article 25 of our
Constitution is similar to Art. 8 of the Irish Constitution.
There is no religious compulsion on the Mussalmans to
sacrifice a cow on Bakr Id Day.

Thakurdas Bhargava, as amicus curiae. The directive
principles of State policy in Part IV of the Constitution
are superior to fundamental rights and the enactments which
are in pursuance of the directions given by Art. 48 are
valid and constitutional even though they may infringe the
fundamental rights of the petitioners. The total ban on cow
slaughter in the impugned Acts is justified and is in the
interests of the general public. The facts and figures
given in the official reports are inaccurate, and there is
no real shortage of fodder or pasture land. There is
shortage of milk in the country and it is essential to
protect the cow. The bullock takes the largest share in
meeting the power requirement for our agricultural
production. Cow dung manure contributes about rupees 63
crores per year to our national income.

H.J. Umrigar, in reply.

Frank Anthony, also replied.

636

1958. April 23. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
DAS C. J.-These 12 petitions under Art. 32 of our
,Constitution raise the question of the constitutional
validity of three several legislative enactments banning the
slaughter of certain animals passed by the States of Bihar,
Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh respectively. The
controversy concerning the slaughter of cows has been raging
in this country for a number of years and in the past it
generated considerable illwill amongst the two major
communities resulting even in riots and civil commotion in
some places. We are, however, happy to note that the rival
contentions of the parties to these proceedings have been
urged before us without importing into them the heat of
communal passion and in a rational and objective way, as a
matter involving constitutional issues should be. Some of
these petitions come from Bihar, some from U. P. and the
rest from Madhya Pradesh, but as they raise common questions
of law, it will be convenient to deal with and dispose of
them together by one common judgment.

Petitions Nos. 58 of 1956, 83 of 1956 and 84 of 1956
challenge the validity of the Bihar Preservation and
Improvement of Animals Act, 1955 (Bihar 11 of 1956),
hereinafter referred to as the Bihar Act. In Petition No.
58 of 1956 there are 5 petitioners, all of whom are Muslims
belonging to the Quraishi community which is said to be
numerous and an important section of Muslims of this
country. The members of the community are said to be mainly
engaged in the butchers’ trade and its subsidiary
undertakings such as the sale of hides, tannery, glue
making, gut making and blooddehydrating, while some of them
are also engaged in the sale and purchase of cattle and in
their distribution over the various areas in the State of
Bihar as well as in the other States of the Union of India.
Petitioners Nos. 1 and 2 are butchers and meat vendors who,
according to the petition, only slaughter cattle and not
sheep or goats and are called ” Kasais ” in
contradistinction to the “‘Chicks ” who slaughter
637
only sheep and goats. After slaughtering the cattle these
petitioners sell the hides to tanners or bide merchants who
are also members of their community and the intestines are
sold to gut merchants. It is said that there are
approximately 500 other Kasais in Patna alone apart from 2
lacs of other Kasais all over the State of Bihar. The
correctness of these figures is not admitted by the
respondent State but we do not doubt that the number of
Kasais is considerable. Petitioner No. 3 is the owner of a
tanning factory and Petitioner No. 4 is a gut merchant,
while Petitioner No. 5 is the General Secretary of Bihar
State Jamiatul Quraish. In petition No. 83 there are 180
petitioners residing at different places in the State of
Bihar who are all Muslims whose occupation is that of Kasais
or cattle dealers or exporters of hides. In Petition No. 84
there are 170 petitioners all residents of Patna District
who are also Muslims belonging to the Quraishi community and
who carry on business as Kasais or dealers of cattle. All
the petitioners in these three petitions are citizens of
India.

The Bill, which was eventually passed as the Bihar Act, was
published in the Bihar Gazette on April 20, 1953. The
scheme of the Bill, as originally drafted, was, it is said,
to put a total ban only on the slaughter of cows and calves
of cows below three years of age. The Bill was sent to a
Select Committee and its scope appears to have been
considerably enlarged, as will be seen presently. The Bill,
as eventually passed by the Bihar Legislature, received the
assent of the Governor on December 8, 1.955, and was
published in the Official Gazette on January 11, 1956.
Section 1 of the Act came into force immediately upon such
publication, but before any notification was issued under
sub-s. (3) of s. 1 bringing the rest of the Act or any part
of it into force in the State or any part of it, the present
petitions were filed in this Court challenging the consti-
tutional validity of the Act. On applications for an
interim order restraining the State of Bihar from issuing a
notification under s. 1(3) of the Act bringing the Act into
operation having been made in these petitions, the
respondent State, by and through the learned
638
Solicitor General of India, gave an undertaking not to issue
such notification until the disposal of these petitions and,
in the premises, no order was considered necessary to be
made on those applications.

Petition No. 103 of 1956 has been filed by two petitioners,
who are both Muslims residing in Uttar Pradesh and carrying
on business in that State, the first one as a hide merchant
and the second as a butcher. Petitioners in Petition No.
129 are eight in number all of whom are Muslims residing and
carrying on business in Uttar Pradesh either as gut
merchants or cattle dealers, or Kasais or beef vendors or
bone dealers or hide merchants or cultivators. All the
petitioners in these two applications are citizens of India.
By these two petitions the petitioners challenge the
validity of the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter
Act, 1955 (LT. P. 1 of 1956), hereinafter referred to as
the U. P. Act and pray for a writ in the nature of mandamus
directing the respondent State of Uttar Pradesh not to take
any steps in pursuance of the U. P. Act or to interfere with
the fundamental rights of the petitioners.
Petitions Nos. 117 of 1956, 126 of 1956, 127 of 1956, 128 of
1956, 248 of 1956, 144 of 1956 and 145 of 1956 have been
filed by 6, 95, 541, 58, 37, 976 and 395 petitioners
respectively, all of whom are Muslims belonging to the
Quraishi Community and are mainly engaged in the butchers’
trade and its subsidiary undertaking such as the supply of
hides, tannery, glue making, gutmaking and blood-
dehydrating. Most of them reside at different places which,
at the dates of the filing of these petitions were parts of
the State of Madhya Pradesh, but which or parts of which
have, in the course of the recent re-organisation of the
States, been transferred to and amalgamated with the State
of Bombay. In consequence of such re-organisation of the
States the State of Bombay has had to be substituted for the
respondent State of Madhya Pradesh in the first five
petitions and to be added in the sixth petition, for a part
of the district in which the petitioners resided had been so
transferred, while the State of Madhya Pradesh continues to
be the respondent in the seventh
639
petition.By these petitions the petitioners %II of whom are
citizens Of India, challenge the validity of the C. P. and
Berar Animal Preservation Act, 1949 (C. P. and Berar Lll of
1949), as subsequently amended.

In order to appreciate the arguments advanced for and
against the constitutional validity of the three impugned
Acts it will be necessary to refer to the relevant
provisions of the Constitution under or pursuant to which
they have been made. Reference must first be made to Art.
48 which will be found in Chapter IV of the Constitution
which enshrines what are called the directive principles of
)State policy. Under Art. 37 these directive principles are
not enforceable by any court of law but are nevertheless
fundamental in the governance of the country and are to be
applied by the State in making laws. Article 48 runs thus:-
Organisation 48. The State shall endeavour of
agriculture and to organise agriculture ‘and
animal husbandry. animal husbandry oil modern and
scientific lines and shall, in parti-

cular, take steps for preserving
and improving the breeds, and
prohibiting the slaughter, of cows
and calves and other milch and
draught cattle.”

The principal purpose of this article, according to learned
counsel for the petitioners, is to direct the ,State to
endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on
modern and scientific lines and the rest of the provisions
of that article are ancillary to this principal purpose.
They contend that the States are required to take steps for
preserving and improving the breeds and for prohibiting the
slaughter of the animals specified therein only with a view
to implement that principal purpose, that is to say, only as
parts of the general scheme for organising our agriculture
and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines.
Learned counsel for the petitioners refer to the marginal
note to Art. 48 in support of their contention on this part
of the case. They also rely on entry 15
640
in List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.
That entry reads: ” Preservation, protection and improvement
of stock and prevention of animal diseases; veterinary
training and practice.” There is no separate legislative
head for prohibition of slaughter of animals and that fact,
they claim, lends support to their conclusion that the
prohibition of the slaughter of animals specified in the
last part of Art. 48 is only ancillary to the principal
directions for preservation, protection and improvement of
stock, which is what is meant by organising agriculture and
animal husbandry. Learned counsel for the respondents and
Pandit Thakurdas Bhargava, who appears as amicus cutriae, on
the other hand, maintain that the article contains three
distinct and separate directions, each of which should, they
urge, be implemented independently -and as a separate
charge. It is not necessary for us, on this occasion, to
express a final opinion on this question. Suffice it to say
that there is no conflict between the different parts of
this article and indeed the two last directives for
preserving and improving the breeds and for the prohibition
of slaughter of certain specified animals represent, as is
indicated by the words ” in particular “, two special
aspects of the preceding general directive for organising
agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific
lines. Whether the last two directives are ancillary to the
first as contended for by learned counsel for the peti-
tioners or are separate and independent items of directives
as claimed by counsel on the other side, the directive for
taking steps for preventing the slaughter of the animals is
quite explicit and positive and contemplates a ban on the
slaughter of the several categories of animals specified
therein, namely, cows and calves and other cattle which
answer the description of milch or draught cattle. The
protection recommended by this part of the directive is, in
our opinion, confined only to cows and calves and to those
animals which are presently or potentially capable of
yielding milk or of doing work as draught cattle but does
not, from the very nature of the purpose for which it is
obviously recommended, extend to cattle which at
641
one time were milch or draught cattle but which have ceased
to be such. It is pursuant to these directive principles
and in exercise of the powers conferred by Arts. 245 and 246
of the Constitution read with entry 15 in List 11 of the
Seventh Schedule thereto that the, Legislatures of Bihar,
Uttar Pradesh and Madhya, Pradesh have respectively enacted
the statutes which are challenged as unconstitutional. In
order properly, to appreciate the meaning and scope of the
impugned Acts it has to be borne in mind that each one of
those Acts is a law with respect to ” preservation,
protection and improvement of stock “, and their
constitutional validity will have to be judged in that
context and against that background. Keeping this
consideration in view, we proceed now to examine the
relevant provisions of the three Acts.

The title of the Bihar Act is ” An Act to provide for the
preservation and improvement of certain animals in the State
of Bihar.” Sub-section (3) of s. 1 provides that that
section shall come into force at once and the remaining
provisions of the Act or any of them shall come into force
on such date as the State Government may, by notification,
appoint and that different dates may be appointed for
different provisions and for different areas. Section 2 is
the definition section and the following definitions are to
be noted:

(a) ” Animal ” means-

(i)bull, bullock, cow, heifer, buffalo, calf, sheep, goat
and-any other ruminating animal;

(ii) poultry; and

(iii) elephant, horse, camel, ass, mule, dog, swine and
such other domesticated animals as may be specified in this
behalf by the State Government by notification in the
Official Gazette;

(b)……………………………………………………

(c) ” bull ” means an uncastrated male above the age of
three years belonging to the species of bovine cattle ;

(d) ” bullock ” means a castrated male above the age of
three years belonging to the species specified in clause

(e)” calf ” means a female or a castrated or
642
uncastrated male, of the age of three years and below
belonging to the species specified in clause (c);

(f)…………………………………………………

(g) ” cow ” means a female above the age of three years
belonging to the species specified in clause (e) ;
Section 3, which is the principal section for the purposes
of the Bihar Petitions, runs as follows:

” 3. Prohibition of slaughter of cow, calf, bull or bullock.
Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time
being in force or in any usage or custom to the contrary, no
person shall slaughter a cow, the calf of a cow, a bull or a
bullock; Provided that the State Government may, by general
or special order and subject to such conditions as it may
think fit to impose, allow the slaughter of any such animal
for any medicinal or research purposes.”

Section 4 provides for penalties for contravention or
attempted contravention or abetment of contravention of any
of the provisions of s. 3. The remaining provision; in the
following three chapters are not material for our present
purpose. It will be noticed that the words ” bull “, ”
bullock “, ” calf ” and ” cow” have been defined in cls.

(c), (d), (e) and (g) of s. 2 as belonging to the species of
bovine cattle. The expression ” species of bovine cattle ”
is wide enough to in-elude and does in ordinary parlance
include buffaloes,(male, or female adults or calves).
Therefore, the corresponding categories of buffaloes,
namely, buffalo bulls, buffalo bullocks, buffalo calves and
she-buffaloes must be taken as included in the four defined
categories of the species of bovine cattle and as such
within the prohibition embodied in s. 3 of the Act. It is
to be, noted, however, that the allegations in the petitions
and the affidavits in opposition proceed on the assumption
that buffaloes (male or female adults or calves) were not
within the protection of the section and, indeed, when the
attention of learned counsel for the petitioners was drawn
to the reference to the ” species of bovine cattle ” in each
of the four definitions, they
643
still made an attempt to support the latter view by
suggesting that if buffaloes were to be included within the
words defined in cls. (c), (d), (e) and (g), then there was
no necessity for specifying it separately in the definition
of ” animal ” in el. (a). This argument does not appear to
us to be sound at all, for, then, on a parity of reasoning
it was wholly unnecessary to specify heifer ” in the
definition of ” animal “. If heifer is not to be
included in the definition of cow ” because heifer ” is
separately enumerated in ‘the definition of animal ” then an
astounding result will follow, namely, that the operative
part of s. 3 will not prohibit the slaughter of ” heifer ”
at all-a result which obviously could not possibly have been
intended. The obvious reason for the enumeration of the
different categories of animals in the definition of ”
animal ” must have been to provide a word of wide import so
that all those sections where the wider word ” animal ” is
used may apply to the different kinds of animals included-
within that term. If the intention of the Bihar legislature
was to exclude buffaloes (male or female adults or calves)
from the protection of s. 3 then it must be said that it has
failed to fulfil its intention.

The U. P. Act is intituled ” An Act to prohibit the
slaughter of COW and its progeny in Uttar Pradesh.” The
preamble to the Act recites the expediency ” to prohibit and
prevent the slaughter of cow and its progeny in Uttar
Pradesh”. Although the 17. P. Act has been made under
entry 15 in List 11 and presumably pursuant to the
directives contained in Art. 48 nowhere in the Act is there
any express reference whatever to the ” preservation,
protection or improvement of stock.” Section 2 defines ”
beef ” as meaning the flesh of cow but does not include the
flesh of cow contained in sealed containers and imported as
such in Uttar Pradesh. Clause (b) is very important, for it
defines ” cow ” as including a bull, bullock, heifer, or
calf. Section 3, which is the operative section runs thus:

3. Notwithstanding anything contained in any
82
644
other law for the time being in force or any usage or custom
to the contrary, no person shall slaughter or cause to be
slaughtered or offer or cause to be offered for slaughter
any cow in any place in Uttar Pradesh.”

Two exceptions are made by s. 4 in respect of cows suffering
from contagious or infectious disease or which is subjected
to experimentation in the interest of medical or public
health research. Section 5 prohibits the sale or transport
of beef or beef products in any form except for medicinal
purposes and subject to’ the provisions of the exception
therein mentioned. Section 6, on which counsel for the
State relies, provides for the establishment, by the State
Government or by any local authority wherever so directed by
the State Government, of institutions as may be necessary
for taking care of uneconomic cows. Under s. 7 the State
Government may levy such charges or fees, as may be
prescribed for keeping uneconomic cows in the institutions.
Section 8 provides for punishment for contravention of the
provisions of ss. 3, 4 and 5. Section 9 makes the offences
created by the Act cognisable and non-bailable. Section 10
gives power to the State Government to make rules for the
purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of the Act.
It should be noted that the U. P. Act protects the ” cow “,
which, according to the definition, includes only bulls,
bullocks, heifer and calves. There is no reference to the
species of bovine cattle and, therefore, the buffaloes (male
or female adults or calves) are completely outside the
protection of this Act.

The C. P. and Berar Act of 1949 was originally intituled ”
An Act to provide for preservation of certain animals by
controlling the slaughter thereof,” and the preamble recited
that it was ” expedient to provide for the preservation of
certain animals by controlling the slaughter thereof.”
,Animal ” was defined in s. 2 as meaning an animal specified
in the schedule. The schedule specified the following
categories of animals, namely, (1) bulls, (2) bullocks, (3)
cows, (4) calves, (5) male and female buffaloes and (6)
buffalo calves. Section 4 originally prohibited the
slaughter
645
of an ” animal ” without certificate. There was then no
total ban on the slaughter of any animal as defined. ,In
1951, the C. P. and Berar Animal Preservation Act, 1949, was
amended by the Madhya Pradesh Act XXIII of 1951. By this
amending Act the words, ” by prohibiting or ” were added to
the long title and the preamble before the word ”
controlling ” and a new clause was added to s. 2 as el. (i)

(a) defining ” cow ” as including a female calf of a cow and
sub-s. 1 of s. 4 was amended so as to read as follows:
“(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for
the. time being in force or in any usage to the contrary, no
person-

(a) shall slaughter a cow; or

(b) shall slaughter any other animal unless he has obtained
in respect of such other animal a certificate in writing
signed by the executive authority and the veterinary officer
for the area in which the animal is to be slaughtered that
the animal is fit for slaughter.”

Thus a total ban was imposed on the slaughter of cows and
female calf of a cow and the male calf of a cow, bull,
bullock, buffalo (male or female adult or calf) could be
slaughtered on obtaining a certificate. The Act was further
amended in 1956 by Act X of 1956 substituting for the
amended definition of ” cow ” introduced by the amending Act
of 1951 as cl. (1)(a) of s. 2 of the C. P. and Berar Animal
Preservation Act, 1949, a new definition of ” cow ” as
including a male or female calf of a cow, bull, bullock or
heifer and a new schedule specifying only (1) cows, (2) male
and female buffaloes and (3) buffalo calves was substituted
for the original schedule to the Act. Shortly put the
position in Madhya Pradesh has been this: while under the C.
P. and Berar Animal Preservation Act, 1949, as it originally
stood, the slaughter of all categories of animals mentioned
in the original schedule were only controlled by the
requirement of a certificate from the appropriate authority
before the actual slaughter, by the amending Act XXIII of
1951, a total ban was imposed on the slaughter of ” cows ”
which was then defined as including only a female calf of a
646
cow and the slaughter of all other categories of animals
coming within the original schedule was controlled and
finally after the amending Act X of 1956, there is now a
total ban on the slaughter of ” cows ” which by the new
definition includes a male or female calf of a cow, bull,
bullock or heifer so that the male and female buffaloes and
buffalo calves (male and female) can still be slaughtered
but on certificate issued by the proper authorities
mentioned in the Act. The Madhya Pradesh Act X of 1956,
amending the C. P. and Berar Animal peservation Act, 1949,
received the assent of the Governor on May 18, 1956. The C.
P. and Berar Animal Preservation Act, 1949, as amended up to
1956, is hereinafter referred to as the Madhya Pradesh Act.’
To sum up, under the Bihar Act there is in the State of
Bihar a total ban on slaughter of all categories of animals
of the species of bovine cattle. In Uttar Pradesh there is,
under the If. P. Act, a total ban on the slaughter of cows
and her progeny which include bulls, bullocks, heifer or
calves. The buffaloes (male or female adults or calves) are
completely outside the protection of the Act. In the
present Madhya Pradesh and the districts which formerly
formed part of Madhya Pradesh but have since been
transferred to the State of Bombay and where the Madhya
Pradesh law including the Madhya Pradesh Act still applies,
there is a total ban on the slaughter of cow, male or female
calves of a cow, bulls, bullocks, or heifers and the
slaughter of buffaloes (male or female adults or calves) are
controlled in that their slaughter is permitted under
certificate granted by the proper authorities mentioned in
the Act. No exception has been made in any of these three
Acts permitting slaughter of cattle even for bona fide
religious purposes such as has been made, say, in the Bombay
Animal Preservation Act, 1948 (Bom. LXXXI of 1948).
As already stated the petitioners, who are citizens of
India, and Muslims by religion, mostly belong to the
Quraishi community and are generally engaged in the
butchers’ trade and its subsidiary undertakings such as
supply of hides, tannery, glue making, gut making
647
and blood de-hydrating, Those, who carry on the butchers
trade, are mostly. Kasais who, the petitioners say kill
only cattle but not ship or goat which are slaughtered by
other persons known as Chicks. Learned counsel appearing
for the petitioners challenge the, constitutional validity
of the Acts respectively applicable to them on three
grounds, namely, that they offend the fundamental rights
guaranteed to them by Arts. 14 ‘ 19(1)(g) and 25. Learned
counsel appearing for the respondent States, of course, seek
to support their respective enactments by controverting the
reasons advanced by learned counsel for the petitioners.
Bharat Go-Sevak Samaj, All India AntiCow-Slaughter Movement
Committee, Sarvadeshik Arya pratinidhi Sabha and M. P.
Gorakshan Sangh put in petitions for leave to intervene in
these proceedings. Under Order XLI, rule 2, of’ the Supreme
Court Rules intervention is permitted only to the Attorney-
General of India or the Advocates General for the States.
There is no other express provision for permitting a third
party to intervene in the proceedings before this Court. In
practice, however, this Court, in exercise of its inherent
powers, allows a third party to intervene when such third
party is a party to some proceedings in this Court or in the
High Courts where the same, or similar questions are in
issue, for the decision of this Court will conclude the case
of that party. In the present case, however, the peti-
tioners for intervention are not parties to any proceedings
and we did not think it right to permit them formally to
intervene in these proceedings; but in view of the
importance of the questions involved in these proceedings we
have heard Pandit Thakurdas Bhargava, who was instructed by
one of these petitioners for intervention, as amicus curiae.
We are deeply indebted to all learned counsel appealing for
the parties and to Pandit Thakurdas Bhargava for the
valuable assistance they have given us.

Before we actually take tip and deal with the alleged
infraction of the petitioners’ fundamental rights, it is
necessary to dispose of a preliminary question raised by
Pandit Thakurdas Bhargava. It will be recalled
648
that the impugned Acts were made by the States in discharge
of the obligations laid on them by Art. 48 to endeavour to
organise agriculture and animal husbandry and in particular
to take steps for preserving and improving the breeds and
prohibiting the slaughter of certain specified animals.
These directive principles, it is true, are not enforceable
by any court of law but nevertheless they are fundamental in
the governance of the country and it is the duty of the
State to give effect to them. These laws having thus been
made in discharge of that fundamental obligation imposed on
the State, the fundamental rights conferred on the citizens
and others by Chapter III of the Constitution must be
regarded as subordinate to these laws. The directive
principles, says learned counsel, are equally, if not more,
fundamental and must prevail. We are unable to accept this
argunent as sound. Article 13(2) expressly says that the
State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges
the rights conferred by Chapter III of our Constitution
which enshrines the fundamental rights. The directive
principles cannot over-ride this categorical restriction
imposed on the legislative power of the State. A harmonious
interpretation has to be placed upon the Constitution and so
interpreted it means that the State should certainly
implement the directive principles but it must do so in such
a way that its laws do not take away or abridge the
fundamental rights, for otherwise the protecting provisions
of Chapter III will be ” a mere rope of sand “. As this
Court has said in the State of Madras v. Smt. Champakam
Dorairajan
(1) , “The directive principles of State policy
have to conform to and run as subsidiary to the Chapter on
Fundamental Rights”.

Coming now to the arguments as to the violation of 4 the
petitioners’ fundamental rights, it will be convenient to
take up first the complaint founded on Art. 25(1). That
article runs as follows:

” Subject to public order, morality and health and to the
other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally
entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to
profess, practise and propagate religion”.
(1) [1951] S.C.R. 525 531-

649

After referring to the provisions of el. (2) which lays down
certain exceptions which are not material for our present
purpose this Court has, in Ratilal Panachand Gandhi v. The
State of Bombay
(1) explained the meaning and scope of this
article thus:

” Thus, subject to the restrictions which this article
imposes, every person has a fundamental right under our
Constitution not merely to entertain such religious belief
as may be approved of by his judgment or conscience but to
exhibit hisbelief and ideas in such overt acts as are
enjoinedor sanctioned by his religion and further to
propagatehis religious views for the edification of others.
Itis immaterial also whether the propagation is made by
a person in his individual capacity or on behalf of any
church or institution. The free exercise of religion by
which is meant the performance of outward acts in pursuance
of relgious belief, is, as stated above, subject to State
regulation imposed to secure order, public health and morals
of the people. ”

What then, we inquire, are the materials placed before us to
substantiate the claim that the sacrifice of a cow is
enjoined or sanctioned by Islam ? The materials before us
are extremely meagre and it is surprising that on a matter
of this description the allegations in the petition should
be so vague. In the Bihar Petition No. 58 of 1956 are set
out the following bald allegations:

That the petitioners further respectfully submit that the
said impugned section also violates the fundamental rights
of the petitioners guaranteed tinder Article 25 of the
Constitution in-as-much as on the occasion of their Bakr Id
Day, it is the religious practice of the petitioners’
community to sacrifice a cow on the said occasion. The poor
members of the community usually sacrifice one cow for every
7 members whereas it would require one sheep or one goat for
each member which would entail considerably more expense.
As a result of the total ban imposed by the impugned section
the petitioners would not even be allowed to make the said
sacrifice which is a practice
(1) [1954] S.C.R. 1055, 1062-1063.

650

and custom in their religion, enjoined upon them by ‘the
Holy Quran, and practised by all Muslims from time
immemorial and recognised as such in India. ”
The allegations in the other petitions are similar. ,These
are met by an equally bald denial in para. 21 of the
affidavit in opposition. No affidavit has been filed by any
person specially competent to expound the relevant tenets of
Islam. ‘No reference ‘is made in the petition to any
particular Surah of the Holy Quran which, in terms, requires
the sacrifice of a cow. All that was placed before us
during the argument were Surah XXII, Verses 28 and 33, and
Surah XXII,. What the Holy book enjoins is that people
should pray unto the Lord and make sacrifice. We have no
affidavit before us by any Maulana explaining the
implications of those Verses or throwing any light on this
problem. We, however, find it laid down in Hamilton’s
translation of Hedaya Book XLIII at p. 592 that it is the
duty of every free Mussulman, arrived at the age of
maturity, to offer a sacrifice on the Yd Kirban, or festival
of the sacrifice, provided he be then possessed of Nisab and
be not a traveller. The sacrifice established for one
person is a goat and that for seven a cow or a camel. It is
therefore, optional for a Muslim to sacrifice a goat for one
person or a cow or a camel for seven persons. It does not
appear to be obligatory that a person must sacrifice a cow.
The very fact of an option seems to run counter to the
notion of an obligatory duty. It is, however, pointed out
that a person with six other members of his family may
afford to sacrifice a cow but may not be able to afford to
sacrifice seven goats. So there may be an economic
compulsion although there is no religious compulsion. It is
also pointed out that from time immemorial the Indian
Mussalmans have been sacrificing cows and this practice, if
not enjoined, is certainly sanctioned by, their religion and
it amounts to their practice of religion protected by Art.

25. While the petitioners claim that the sacrifice of a cow
is essential, the State denies the obligatory nature of the
religious practice. The fact, emphasised by the
respondents, cannot be
651
disputed, namely, that many Mussalmans do not sacrifice a
cow on the Bakr Id Day. It is part of the known history of
India that the Moghul Emperor Babar saw the wisdom of
prohibiting the slaughter of cows as and by way of religious
sacrifice and directed his son Humayun to follow this
example. Similarly Emperors Akbar, Jehangir, and Ahmad
Shah, it is said, prohibited cow slaughter. Nawab Hyder Ali
of Mysore made cow slaughter an offence punishable with the
cutting of the hands of the offenders. Three of the member
of the Gosamvardhan Enquiry Committee set up by the Uttar
Pradesh Government in 1953 were Muslims and concurred in the
unanimous recommendation for total ban on slaughter of cows.
We have, however, no material on the record before us which
will enable us to say, in the face of the foregoing facts,
that the sacrifice of a cow on that day is an obligatory
overt act for a Mussalman to exhibit his religious belief
and idea. In the premises, it is not possible for us to
uphold this claim of the petitioners.

The next complaint is against the denial of the equal
protection of the law. It is thus formulated: The
petitioners are Muslims by religion and butchers (Kasais) by
occupation and they carry on the trade of selling beef. The
impugned Acts prejudicially affect only the Muslim Kasais
who kill cattle but not others who kill goats and sheep and
who sell goats’ meat and mutton. It is, therefore, clear
that only the Muslim Kasais, who slaughter only cattle but
not sheep or goats, have been singled out for hostile and
discriminatory treatment. Their further grievance is that
the U. P. Act makes a distinction even between butchers who
kill cattle and butchers who kill buffaloes and the Madhya
Pradesh Act also makes a like discrimination in that
slaughter of buffaloes is permitted, although under
certificate, while slaughter of cows, bulls, bullocks and
calves are totally prohibited. In the premises the
petitioners contend that the law which permits such
discrimination must be struck down as violative of the
salutary provisions of Art. 14 of the Constitution.

83
652

The meaning, scope and effect of Art. 14, which is the equal
protection clause in our Constitution, has been explained by
this Court in a series of decisions in cases beginning with
Chiranjitlal Choudhury v. The Union of India (1) and ending
with the recent case of Ram Krishna Dalmia and others v. Sri
Justice S. R.Tendolkar
(2). It is now well established that
while Art. 14 forbids class legislation it does not forbid
reasonable classification for the purposes of legislation
and that in order to pass the test of permissible classi-
fication two conditions must be fulfilled, namely, (i) the
classification must be founded on an intelligible
differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are
grouped together from others left out of the group and (ii)
such differentia must have a rational relation to the object
sought to be achieved by the statute in question. The
classification, it has been held, may be founded on
different bases, namely, geographical, or according to
objects or occupations or the like and what is necessary is
that there must be a nexus between the basis of’
classification and the object of the Act under
consideration. The pronouncements of this Court further
establish, amongst other things, that there is always a
presumption in favour of the constitutionality of an
enactment and that the burden is upon him, who attacks it,
to show that there has been a clear violation of the
constitutional principles. The courts, it is accepted, must
presume that the legislature understands and correctly
appreciates the needs of its own people, that its laws are
directed to problems made manifest by experience and that
its discriminations are based on adequate grounds. It must
be borne in mind that the legislature is free to recognise
degrees of harm and may confine its restrictions to those
cases where the need is deemed to be the clearest and
finally that in order to sustain the presumption of
constitutionality the Court may take into consideration
matters of common knowledge, matters of common report, the
history of the times and may assume every state of facts
which can be conceived existing at the time of legislation.
We, therefore, proceed to examine
(1) [1950] S.C.R. 869. (2) [1959] S.C.R. 279.

653

the impugned Acts in the light of the principles thus
enunciated by this Court.

The impugned Acts, it may be recalled, have been made by the
States in discharge of the obligations imposed on them by
Art. 48. In order to implement the directive principles the
respective Legislatures enacted the impugned Acts in
exercise of the powers conferred on them by Art. 246 read
with entry 15 in List II of the Seventh Schedule. It is,
therefore, quite clear that the objects sought to be
achieved by the impugned Acts are the preservation,
protection and improvement of livestocks. Cows, bulls,
bullocks and calves of cows are no doubt the most important
cattle for the agricultural economy of this country. Female
buffaloes yield a large quantity of milk and are, therefore,
well looked after and do not need as much protection as cows
yielding a small quantity of milk require. As draught
cattle male buffaloes are not half as useful as bullocks.
Sheep and goat give very little milk compared to the cows
and the female buffaloes and have practically no utility as
draught animals. These different categories of animals
being susceptible of classification into separate groups on
the basis of their usefulness to society, the butchers who
kill each category may also be placed in distinct classes
according to the effect produced on society by the carrying
on of their respective occupations. Indeed the butchers,
who kill cattle, according to the allegations of the
petitioners themselves in their respective petitions, form a
well defined class based on their occupation. That
classification is based on an intelligible differentia which
places them in a well defined class and distinguishes them
from those who kill goats and sheep and this differentia has
a close connection with the object sought to be achieved by
the impugned Act, namely, the preservation, protection and
improvement of our livestock. The attainment of these
objectives may well necessitate that the slaughterers of
cattle should be dealt with more stringently than the
slaughterers of, say, goats and sheep. The impugned Acts,
therefore, have adopted a classification on sound and
intelligible basis and can quite clearly stand the test laid
down in
654
the decisions of this Court. Whatever objections there may
be against the validity of the impugned Acts the -denial of
equal protection of the laws does not, prima facie, appear
to us to be one of them. In any case, bearing in mind the
presumption of constitutionality attaching to all enactments
founded on the recognition by the court of the fact that the
legislature correctly appreciates the needs of its own
people there appears to be no escape from the conclusion
that the petitioners have not discharged the onus that was
on them and the challenge under Art. 14 cannot, therefore,
prevail.

Learned counsel for the petitioners then take their final
stand on Art. 19(1)(g). Immediately learned counsel for the
respondents counter the charge by saying that Art. 19(1)(g)
can hit only the law which purports to directly violate its
provisions. The impugned Acts, we are reminded, have been
made in implementation of the directive principles laid down
in Art. 48 and are laws with respect to matters set forth in
entry 15 of List II and it is emphasised that the sole
purpose of these enactments is to secure the preservation,
protection and improvement of stock and that its real aim is
not to take away or abridge the rights guaranteed by Art.
19(1)(g). If at all, these enactments may only indirectly
and incidentally affect those, rights but that circumstance
cannot alter their real nature and purpose. Reliance is
placed in support of this contention on the following
observations of Kania C. J. in A. K. Gopalan v. The State
(1).

” If there is a legislation directly attempting to control a
citizen’s freedom of speech or expression, or his right to
assemble peaceably and without aims, etc., the question
whether that legislation is saved by the relevant saving
clause of article’ 19 will arise. If, however, the
legislation is not directly in respect of any of these
subjects, but as a result of the operation of other
legislation, for instance, for punitive or preventive
detention, his right under any of these sub-clauses is
abridged, the question of the application of article 19 does
not arise. The true approach is only to consider the
directness of the legislation and not what will
(1) [1950] S.C.R. 88, 101.

655

be the result of the detention otherwise valid, on the mode
of the detenue’s life. ”

This part of the argument advanced on behalf of the
respondents is further sought to be reinforced by the fact
that the above observations of Kania C. J. had subsequently
been adopted by this Court in Ram Singh v.The State of Delhi
(1). Those observations of Kania C. J. should, in our
opinion, be read in the context of the facts of those cases.
It should be remembered that both these cases arose out of
orders made under the Preventive Detention Act, 1950.
Article 22, which is to be found in Chapter III of the
Constitution, recognises the necessity for preventive
detention, however odious it may be. The purpose of the Act
under which the detention orders had been made in those
cases, was to prevent the persons concerned from acting in
any manner prejudicial to one or other of the three impor-
tant matters specified therein. The effect of the execution
of the orders was to deprive those persons of their liberty
according to procedure established by law. Preventive
detention, like punitive detention, having taken away the
personal liberty of those persons they could not claim the
rights under Art. 19(1)(a) to (e) and (g) for those were the
rights of free men. It was, therefore, considered that the
primary and direct object of the Preventive Detention Act,
1950, being, inter alia, to secure the security of the State
and maintenance of law and order, its impact on the
fundamental rights was indirect and, therefore, the Act
could not be challenged for breach of the fundamental rights
under Art. 19(1). The position in the cases now before us
is quite different. The last part of the directive
principles embodied in Art. 48 require the State to take
steps for prohibiting the slaughter of the specified animals
and this directive can only be carried out by prohibiting
the petitioners and other butchers (Kasais) from. slaugh-
tering them. There can be no mistake about the directness
of these legislations vis-a-vis the petitioners and other
butchers and the effect of these legislations on their
rights is direct and instantaneous as soon as they are
brought into force. The title of the U. P. Act
(1) [1951]1 S.C.R. 451, 456-457.

656

does not even attempt to conceal the directness of its
impact on the butchers of Uttar Pradesh. The argument of
learned counsel for the respondents on this point cannot be
accepted and the question of the alleged violation of Art.
19(1)(g) has to be dealt with on merits.

The complaint of the petitioners under Art. 19 (1) (g) is
that the impugned Acts, if enforced, will compel them at
once to close down their business and will, in effect,
amount to a complete denial of their right to carry oil
their occupation, trade or business in spite of the
mandatory provisions of Art. 19(1)(g). The objection is
elaborated thus: The livelihood of a butcher of cattle
depends on the existence of many factors. First he has to
purchase the cattle which he will slaughter. The statistics
will show that a large number of cattle are slaughtered for
food every year. According to Table 11 on p. 24 of the
Report on the Marketing of Cattle in India 18,93,000 heads
of cattle and 6,09,000 buffaloes were slaughtered in the
year 1948. Taking that 7 goats are the equivalent in flesh
of cow or buffalo these butchers who slaughter 25,02,000
bovine cattle will have to find 7 times that number of goats
or sheep, that is to say, they will have to have 1,75,14,000
extra goats and sheep per year. This it is said, is not
available in -India. Then the butchers will have to find
buyers for this enormous quantity of goats’ meat or mutton
the price of which, according to the figures given at p.12
of the Expert Committee’.-, Report, is very much higher than
that of beef. Poorer people may afford to buy beef
occasionally but goat-,’ meat or mutton will be beyond their
reach and consequently there will not be a market for sale
of the meat of so many goats and sheep and the butchers will
have to reduce the number of goats and sheep for purposes of
slaughter and that will reduce their income to a negligible
figure. Further, what will they do with the skins of so
many goats, and sheep ? They will not have ready sale in the
market as hides of cows and buffaloes have, for the latter
are used in the manufacture of boots, shoes, suit cases,
belts and other leather goods while the skins of goats and
sheep will be useless
657
for such purpose. The same considerations will apply to the
guts. There is, therefore, no escape, say learned counsel
for the petitioners from the inevitable conclusion that a
total ban on the slaughter of all animals belonging to the
species of bovine cattle will bring about a total
prohibition of the business and occupation of the butchers
(Kasais). Clause (6) of Art. 19, no doubt, protects the
operation of the existing laws in so far as they impose and
do not prevent the State from making any law imposing, in
the interest of the general public, reasonable restrictions
on the exercise of the right conferred by Art. 19(1)(g).
But restrictions, they say, cannot extend to total
prohibition and reference is made to the observations to be
found in some of the decisions of this Court. The
contention is that the State may regulate but cannot
annihilate a business which a citizen has a right to carry
on.

The rival contention is thus formulated: The dictionary
meaning of the word ” butcher ” is ” slaughterer of animals
for food, dealer in meat”. It is one of the three well-
known occupations included in the homely phrase, ” the
butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker”. The expression
” butcher “, as popularly understood now, has no reference
to any particular animal. The term is now applicable to any
person who slaughters any animal for food. Taken in this
larger sense, the facts alleged in the petitions do not,
according to learned counsel for the respondents, indicate
that any of the impugned Acts has the effect of completely
stopping the petitioners’ businesses. They seek to
illustrate their point thus: Take the case of piece-goods
merchants. Some may deal in country made piece-goods and
others may import and sell piece-goods manufactured, say, in
England or Japan. Some may deal in dhotis and saris and
others may confine their activities to the purchase and sale
of long cloth or other varieties of piece-goods. They are,
however, all piece-goods merchants. Suppose in the interest
of our indigenous textile industry and to protect the best
interests of the general public it becomes necessary to stop
the import of foreign cloth altogether. Such stoppage will
not prevent any cloth
658
merchant from carrying on his trade or business as cloth
merchant, for he can still deal in cloth and piecegoods
manufactured in India. Will any piece-goods merchant, whose
business was only to import foreign piece-goods for sale in
India, be heard to complain that the stoppage of import of
foreign cloth has completely prevented him from carrying on
business as a piece goods merchant and, therefore, such
stoppage of import of foreign cloth being more than a mere
restriction violates his fundamental right under Art.
19(1)(g) ? Where, they ask, will the argument lead us ?
Suppose that the import of one particular variety of piece-
goods, say saris, is stopped but import of dhotis and all
other varieties of piece-goods are allowed. On a reasoning
at par with that urged in the last case should not a dealer
who imports only that variety of piece-goods the import of
which has been stopped be entitled to say that his business
has been completely stopped ? Suppose the State in the
interest of Khadi and cottage industries imposes a ban on
the manufacture or sale of cloth of a very fine count, will
a merchant who deals only in fine cloth be entitled to say
that as he deals only in fine cloth, the ban has completely
prohibited the carrying on of his business ? The truth of
the matter, they submit, is that the ban on the import of
foreign cloth or on the manufacture of cloth of very fine
count is only a restriction imposed on the piece-goods
business, for the ban affects one or more of the segments of
that business but leaves the other segments untouched.
There is, therefore, only some restriction imposed on piece-
goods merchants in that they cannot deal in certain kinds of
piece-goods, but they are not wholly prevented from carrying
on piece-goods business. The position, they say, is the
same in the case of butchers (Kasais). The butchers’
business, they point out, has several segments and a ban on
one segment may be complete prohibition of the activities of
that segment, for restriction is complete as far as it
extends, but in the larger context of the butchers’ business
such a ban, they submit, operates only as a restriction.
Far less, it is said can a dealer in hides, complain that
the ban
659
imposed on the slaughter of cattle and buffaloes prevent him
from, carrying on his, business as a hide merchant, for he
call still carry on his business in ,fallen hides. Indeed
the statistics collected in the Report of Marketing of Hides
in India, Second Edition, p.9, show that the percentage of
fallen hides to the total cattle population is 8.8 whereas
the percentage of slaughtered hides to the total cattle
population is
1.4. The. same argument has been advanced regarding gut
merchants and other dealers in subsidiary things.
It is not necessary for us to dilate upon or to express any
opinion on the rival contentions as abstract pro.
positions . The matter has to be dealt with objectively.
What do the Acts actually provide ? In Uttar Pradesh the
petitioners can freely slaughter buffaloes (male or female
adults or calves) and sell their meat for food. It is also
open to them to slaughter goats and sheep and sell the meat.
Therefore, so far as the butchers of Uttar Pradesh are
concerned, there A,, obviously no total prohibition of their
occupation but only some restrictions have been imposed on
them in respect of one part of their occupation, namely, the
slaughter of cows, bulls, bullocks, and calves of cows. In
Madhya Pradesh the Act, it is true, totally forbids the
slaughter of cows including bulls, bullocks and cows but
permits the slaughter of buffaloes (male or female adults or
calves) under certain conditions. Therefore, in Madhya
[Pradesh also there is no law totally prohibiting the
carrying on of the business of a butcher. In Bihar there
is, no doubt, a total ban against the slaughter of all
animals belonging to the, species of bovine cattle which
includes buffaloes (male or female adults or calves) but it
is still possible for the butchers of Bihar to slaughter
goats and sheep and sell goats’ meat and mutton for food.
As will be -seen hereafter the total ban on the slaughter of
bulls, bullocks, buffaloes (male or female adults or calves)
irrespective of their age or usefulness is, in our view, not
a reasonable restriction imposed on, the butchers (Kasais)
in the interest of the general public and that being,
therefore, void, no question can arise, even in
660
Bihar, of any total prohibition of the rights of butchers to
carry on their occupation or business. In this view of the
matter we need express no final opinion on the vexed
question as to whether restrictions permissible under cl.
(6) of Art. 19 may extend to total prohibition. That
question was left open by this court in Saghir Ahmed v. The
State O. U. P. and others (1) and in The State of Bombay v.
R. M. D. Chamarbaugwala
(2) and in the view we have taken on
the facts and construction of the several Acts under
consideration, does not call for an answer in disposing of
these petitions. The question that calls for an answer from
us is whether these restrictions are reasonable in the
interests of the general public.

Clause (6) of Art. 19 protects a law which imposes in the
interest of the general public reasonable restrictions on
the exercise of the right conferred by sub cl. (g) of cl.
(1) of Art. 19. Quite obviously it is left to the court, in
case of dispute, to determine the reasonableness of the
restrictions imposed by the law. In determining that
question the court, we conceive, cannot proceed on a general
notion of what is reasonable in the abstract or even on a
consideration of what is reasonable from the point of view
of the person or persons on whom the restrictions are
imposed. The right conferred by sub-cl. (g) is expressed in
general language and if there had been no qualifying
provision like el. (6), the right so conferred would have
been an absolute one. To the person who has this right any
restriction will be irksome and may well be regarded by him
as unreasonable. But the question cannot be decided on that
basis. What the court has to do is to consider whether the
restrictions imposed are reasonable in the interests of the
general public. In the State of Madras v. V. 0. Row (3)
this court has laid down the test of reasonableness in the
following terms:

” It is important in this context to bear in mind that the
test of reasonableness, wherever prescribed, should be
applied to each individual statute impugned-,
(1) [1955] 1 S.C.R. 707, 724. (2) [1957] S.C.R. 874.
(3) [1952] S.C.R. 597, 607.

661

and no abstract standard, or general pattern, of reason-
ableness can be laid down as applicable to all cases. The
nature of the right alleged to have been infringed, the
underlying purpose of the restrictions imposed, the extent
and urgency of the evil sought to be remedied thereby, the
disproportion of the imposition, the prevailing conditions
at the time, should all enter into the judicial verdict. In
evaluating such elusive factors and forming their own
conception of what is reasonable, in all the circumstances
of a given case, it is inevitable that the social philosophy
and the scale of values of the judges participating in the
decision should play an important part, and the limit to
their interference with legislative judgment in such cases
can only be dictated by their sense of responsibility and
self-restraint and the sobering reflection that the
Constitution is meant not only for people of their way of
thinking but for all, and that the majority of the elected
representatives of the people have, in authorising the
imposition of the restrictions, considered them to be
reasonable.”

These observations have been adopted by this Court in later
cases, e. g., The State of West Bengal v. Subodh Gopal Bose
(1) and Ebrahim Vazir Mavat v. The State of Bombay (2). In
this connection it will also be well to remember the
observation of Mahajan J. in The State of Bihar v.
Maharajadhiraj Sir Kameshwar Singh of Dharbangha
(3),
namely, that ” the legislature is the best judge of what is
good for the community, by whose suffrage it comes into
existence……. This should be the proper approach for the
court but the ultimate responsibility for determining the
validity of the law must rest with the court and the court
must not shirk that solemn duty cast on it by the
Constitution. We have, therefore, to approach the problem
now before us in the light of the principles laid down by
this Court.

The avowed object of each of the impugned Acts is to ensure
the preservation, protection, and improvement of the cow and
her progeny. This solicitude
(1) (1954] S.C.R. 587, 627. (2) [1954] S.C.R. 933, 949-950,
(3) [1952] S.C.R. 889, 041.

662

arises out of the appreciation of the usefulness of cattle
in a predominantly agricultural society. Early Aryans
recognised its importance as one of the most indispensable
adjuncts of agriculture. It would appear that in Vedic
times animal flesh formed the staple food of the people.
This is attributable to the fact that the climate in that
distant past was extremely cold and the Vedic Aryans had
been a pastoral people before they settled down as
agriculturists. In Rg. Vedic times goats, sheep, cows,
buffaloes and even horses were slaughtered for food and for
religious sacrifice and their flesh used to be offered to
the Gods. Agni is called the ” eater of ox or cow ” in Rg.
Veda (VIII. 43, 11). The staying of a great ox (Mahoksa) or
a ” great Goat ” (Mahaja) for the entertainment of a
distinguished guest has been enjoined in the Satapatha
Brahmana (111. 4. 1-2). Yagnavalkya also expresses similar
view (Vaj 1. 109). An interesting account of those early
days will be found in Rg. Vedic Culture by Dr. A. C. Das,
Ch. 5, pp. 203-5, and in the History of Dharmasastras (Vol.
II-, Part II) by P. V. Kane at pp. 772-773. Though the
custom of slaughtering of cows and bulls prevailed during
the Vedic period, nevertheless, even in the Rg. Vedic times
there seems to have grown up a revulsion of feeling against
the custom. The cow gradually came to acquire a special
Sanctity and was called ” Aghnya ” (not to be slain). There
was a school of thinkers amongst the Rsis, who set their
face against the custom of killing such useful animals as
the cow and the bull. High praise was bestowed on the cow
as will appear from the following verses from Rg. Veda,
Book VI, Hymn XXVIII (Cows) attributed to the authorship of
Sage Bhardvaja:

” 1. The kine have come and brought good fortune; lot them
rest in the cow-pen and be happy near US.

Here let them stay prolific, many coloured, and yield
through many morns their milk for Indra.

6. O cows, ye fatten e’en the worn and wasted, and make the
unlovely beautiful to look on.

Prosper my house, ye with auspicious voices, your power is
glorified in our assemblies.

663

7. Crop goodly pasturages and be prolific; drink pure
sweet water at good drinking places.

Never be thief or sinful man your master, and may the dart
of Rudra still avoid you.

(Translation by Ralph Griffith). Verse 29 of Hymn 1 in Book
X.of Atharva Veda forbids cow slaughter in
the following words:

” 29. The slaughter of an innocent, O Kritya, is an awful
deed, Slay not cow, horse, or man of ours. ” Hymn 10 in the
same Book is a rapturous glorification of the cow:
” 30. The cow is Heaven, the cow is Earth, the cow is
Vishnu, Lord of life,
The Sadhyas and the Vasus have drunk the outpourings of the
cow.

34. Both Gods and mortal men depend for life and being on
the cow.

She hath become this universe; all that the sun ,surveys is
she. ”

P.V. Kane argue,, that in the times of’ the Rg. Veda only
barren cows,if at all, were killed for sacrifice or meat and
cows yielding milk were held to be not fit for being killed.
It is only in this way, according to him, that one can
explain and reconcile the apparent conflict between the
custom of killing COWS for food and the high praise bestowed
oil the cow in Rg. Vedic times. It would appear that the
protest raised against the slaughter of cows greatly
increased in volume till the custom was totally abolished in
a later age. The change of climate perhaps also make the
use of beef food unnecessary and even injurious to health.
Gradually cows became indicative of the wealth of the owner.
The Neolithic Aryans not having been acquainted with metals,
there were no coins in current use in the earlier stages of
their civilisation, but as they were eminently a pastoral
people almost every family possessed a sufficient number of
cattle and ‘some of them exchanged them for the necessaries
of their life,. The value of cattle (Pasu)was, therefore,
very great with the early Rg. Vedic Aryans. The ancient
Romans also used the word pecus or pecu (pasu) in the sense
of wealth or money. The English words,
664
” Pecuniary ” and ” impecunious “, are derived from the
Latin root pecus or pecu, originally meaning cattle. The
possession of cattle in those days denoted wealth and a man
was considered rich or poor according to the large or small
number of cattle that he owned. In the Ramayana King
Janaka’s wealth was described by reference to the large
number of herds that he owned. It appears that the cow was
gradually raised to the status of divinity. Kautilya’s
Arthasastra has a special chapter (Ch. XXIX) dealing with
the “superintendent of cows” and the duties of the owner of
cows are also referred to in Ch. XI of Hindu Law in its
sources by Ganga Nath Jha. There can be no gainsaying the
fact that the Hindus in general hold the cow in great
reverence and the idea of the, slaughter of cows for food is
repugnant to their notions and this sentiment has in the
past even led to communal riots. It is also a fact that
after the recent partition of the country this agitation
against the slaughter of cows has been further intensified.
While we agree that the constitutional question before us
cannot be decided on grounds of mere sentiment, however
passion ate it may be, we, nevertheless, think that it has
to be taken into consideration, though only as one of many
elements, in arriving at a judicial verdict as to the
reasonableness of the restrictions.

Cattle in India, it is said, has a treble role to play,
namely, (i) to produce milk for food, (ii) bulls for draught
and (iii) manure for agriculture. It is necessary to advert
to the arguments advanced under each head. According to the
1951 census there were 15,60,00,000 heads of cattle and
4,00,00,000 of buffaloes making a total of 19,60,00,000 or
roughly 20,00,00,000 of animals belonging to the species of
bovine cattle. In India there are 123 heads of cattle
including buffaloes per square mile and 43 heads to every
100 persons. Out of the total cattle population of
15,60,00,000 and buffalo population of 4,00,00,000 there
were in Bihar 1,52,97,000 cattle and 33,16,000 buffaloes, in
Madhya Pradesh 1,48,58,000 heads of cattle and 26,00,000
buffaloes and in Uttar Pradesh 2,35,13,000 heads of cattle
and 92,50,000 buffaloes.

665

The total distribution of cattle and buffaloes, according to
age, sex and work, was as follows:-

	  Males			Cattle	       Buffaloes
Breeding bulls			   6,52,0003,06,000
Working bullocks	    5,88,18,00060,36,000
Bulls and bullocks over three
years not in use for breed-

ing and work, i. e., useless. 27,35,0004,66,000
Young stock under once year. 97,63,000 28,70,000
Young stock one to three
years of age. 1,22,57,000 23,84,000
Total 8,42,25,000 1,20,02,000
Females
Breeding cows, i.e., cows, over
3 years kept for breeding
or milk production. 4,67,23,000 2,10,08,000
Cows over 3 years used for
work. 23,17,000 5,34,000
Cows over 3 years not in
use for work or breeding
purposes, i. e., useless. 12,02,0003,15,000
Young stock over 1 year. 93,05,00042,02,000
Young stock 1 to 3 years of
age. 1,25,44,00052,83,000
Total 7,20,91,000 3,13,42,000
Grand total 15,63,16,000 4,33,44,000
As stated in the Report on the Marketing of Cattle in India
issued by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection,
Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of India, 1956,
the proportion of males in cattle is a little more than half
of the total cattle population whilst in the case of
buffaloes, females predominate and are about 3/4 of the
total. For agricultural purposes male cattle are generally
preferred for their comparative lightness and active nature.
Of the total 39,57,000 unserviceable heads of cattle in
India there were 5,35,000 in Bihar, 1,55,000 in Madhya
Pradesh and 1,84,000 in Uttar Pradesh. Of the total
7,81,000
666
unserviceable buffaloes there were 1,20,000 in Bihar, 15,000
in Madhya Pradesh and 28,000 in Uttar Pradesh.
Although, according to the census figures given above, our
cattle wealth is, in number, the highest in the world the
milk production is perhaps the lowest. According to the
figures given in the Second Five Year Plan, at the beginning
of the First Five Year Plan the milk output was over
1,80,00,000 ton,;. The average yield of milk per cow in
India was 413 pounds which is about the lowest of any
country in the world as against 8,000 pounds in the
Netherlands, 7,000 pounds in Australia, 6,000 pounds in
Sweden and 5,000 pounds in the U.S.A. Out of the total yield
she-buffaloes give 54% while cows give only 42%. Buffalo
milk is richer in fat, 6 to 7% as compared to 4.5% of fat in
the cow’s milk,. But cows milk is richer in other important
content.,, and is more easily digestible. The average per
capita consumption of milk and milk products was worked out
by the First Five Year Plan at 5.5 ounces, i.e., about 2.5
chhataks or 1/6 of a seer per day, though 10 ounces are
recommended by nutrition experts. In the Facts and Figures
about Bihar published in 1955 by the Department of Public
Relations, the average annual. milk yield is stated to be
620 lbs. per cow and 1,526 lbs. per buffalo. It is
recognised in Human Nutrition vis-a-vis Animal Nutrition in
India, a Memorandum prepared by the Nutrition Advisory
Committee of the Indian Council of Medical Research and the
Animal Committee of the Indian Council of Agricultural
Research that the performance of Indian much animals,
particularly of cows, is extremely poor and that from a more
economic point of view there does not seem to be any
justification for maintaining animals yielding 2 pounds of
milk or less per day and perhaps these animals would better
be eliminated. But, as the Memorandum also says, one should
realise, before such a drastic action is taken, the
consequences that may follow from the adoption of this
policy, for if the animals giving 2 pounds or less of milk
are condemned as unsuitable it will mean elimination of more
than 90% of the present day much cows and loss of about
70,00,000 tons out of 97,00,000 tons of annual
667
gross production of milk from this group, besides a large
number of bullocks that they will bear. According to the
table of the human food requirement recommended by the
Nutrition Advisory Committee of the Indian Council of
Medical Research 10 ounces of milk per adult unit per day is
necessary to make tip a balanced diet. The total human
population, according to 1951 census, was 35,68,00,000
which, at the current rate of increase, was estimated to
have reached the figure of 37,76,00,000 in 1956. Treating
children below 10 years of age as 0.83 of adult value, the
total adult unit is calculated at 31,30,00,000. At the rate
of 10 ounces of milk per adult per day we Would require
3,23,00,000 tons of milk per annum. It is clear, therefore,
that in India, where a large section of tile population
consists of vegetarians, there is a huge shortage in the
supply of milk. Cows and other milch cattle, therefore, are
of very great value to this country. If milk yielding
capacity were the only consideration the comparatively
smaller number of female buffaloes which produce 54% of the
total milk supply of our country would obviously have
deserved a far greater preference over the cows in our
estimation. But, as pointed out by Pandit Thakurdas
Bhargava, there is another important consideration which is
perhaps more important from the standpoint of human food
supply. It is the bullock that takes the largest share in
meeting the power requirements for our agricultural
production. Based perhaps on age old experience Indian
agriculturists habitually prefer a cow bullock to a buffalo
bullock. As a result of the evolutionary process of trial
and error, we find in this country about 10 cow bullocks for
every buffalo bullock as is shown by the 1951 census figures
set out above. If this relative distribution is considered
unavoidable for our crop production, we may expect no change
in the existing ratio in the population of the two species
unless a revolution can be brought about in our methods and
practice of land cultivation. According to the Report on
the Marketing of Cattle in India, 1956, p. 22, animals are
utilised in India under four heads:(1) used for
cultivating6,54,22,000 (2) used
85
668
for carting in urban areas-11,80,000 (3) used as pack
animals-67,705 and (4) used in oil crushers, etc.4,30,000,
making up the total of 6,70,99,705. As against this we
have, according to the 1951 census figures set out above,
5,88,18,000 working bullocks and 60,36,000 working he-
buffaloes, aggregating to 6,48,54,000. There is therefore a
shortage of 22,45,705 bullocks including buffaloes which
presumably represent the dry cows and female buffaloes put
to agricultural labour, as shown in the Second Five Year
Plan at pp. 281-282. It is true that tractors have begun to
be used but they are still of a negligible number and for
many years to come the country will have to depend upon
animal power for her agricultural operations in order to
grow enough food for meeting the demands of the fast growing
human population. In Uttar Pradesh, according to the 1951
census, there were 2,35,12,839 heads of cattle and 92,50,488
buffaloes, making a total of 3,27,63,327. The total area of
Uttar Pradesh was 7,22,78,809 acres out of which 4,92,30,120
acres were under cultivation. If a pair of bullocks can be
taken on an average to cover 10 acres the total area under
cultivation will require 98,46,000 bullocks. The 1951
census figures show 1,15,00,000 of bullocks which are
slightly in excess of the number of bullocks required for
the purposes of cultivation only. Indeed both in Uttar
Pradesh and in Bihar, according to the First Five Year Plan,
p. 247, there was a surplus of about 40,00,000 of bullocks
while in the Punjab and Pepsu the number available was just
adequate to meet the demands. If, however, account is taken
of the other purposes for which bullocks may be used,
namely, for carting or as pack animals or for working oil
crushers or drawing water from the wells for irrigation
purposes, the total available animal power will fall short
of the requirements. In addition to that we have to keep in
view the necessity for further expansion of the cultivated
area to meet the food requirements of the fast growing
population, and in that case the deficit will go up still
further. In Bihar, according to the Facts and Figures,
1956, the total number of animal population of the bovine
species were:-

669

Cattle
Cows and oxen (adults) 1,15,64,310
Cows and oxen (young stock) 37,33,166
Buffaloes (adult) 23,78,293
Buffaloes (young stock) 9,37,582
The number of working cattle andbuffaloes works out
to one for every 6 acres of net area under cultivation. It
follows, therefore, that our working animals are perhaps
just about sufficient to supply the power to keep our
agricultural operations up to the necessary standard, but
the demand for food is growing and more lands will have to
be brought under cultivation and we shall require a far
large number of these animals.

There are in India, 6,50,000 breeding bulls and 3,10,000
breeding buffaloes. There are 4,63,40,000 breeding cows and
2,09,90,000 breeding buffaloes. According to the First Five
Year Plan, 1). 274, approximately 750 farm bred bulls of
known pedigree are distributed annually by the Government in
different States for developing and improving the draught as
well as the milch breeds. Besides there are some approved
bulls belonging to private owners. But the existing number
of private bulls meets less than 0. 15% of the total
requirements of the country. According to the Report on the
Marketing of Cattle in India, p. 9, service bulls number
approximately 6,52,000 or about 0.4% of the total cattle in
the country. In the absence of an arrangement to castrate
or remove the inferior bulls before a pedigree bull is
located in an area, the progeny of the pedigree bulls have
access to scrub, which nullifies the efficiency achieved in
the first generation. It is, therefore, clear that the
breeding bulls (cattle and buffaloes) are insufficient to
meet the requirements. It is true that the practice of
artificial insemination has been introduced in some centres
but for many years to come Indian animal husbandry will have
to depend on the ordinary breeding bulls. We are in short
supply of them.

The third utility of these animals (cattle and buffaloes) is
the dung. The First Five Year Plan at p. 255
670
records that 80,00,00,000 tons of dung are available per
annum. 50% of this is used as fuel by cultivators and the
other 50% is used as manure. If suitable supplies of fuel
could be made available to the cultivators then the entire
quantity of dung could be used for manure. It is doubtful,
however, if the cultivators would be in a position to pay
for the fuel and utilise the entirety of the dung for
manure. Cattle urine is also useful for the nitrogen,
phosphates and potash contents in it. In terms of money the
dung and the urine will account for a large portion of the
agricultural income in India. Indeed Pandit Thakurdas
Bhargava appearing as amnicus curiae has claimed Rs.
63,00,00,000 per year as the contribution of the dung of
these animals to the national income.

The discussion in the foregoing paragraphs clearly
establishes the usefulness of the cow and her progeny. They
sustain the health of the nation by giving them the life
giving milk which is so essential an item in a
scientifically balanced diet. The working bullocks are
indispensable for our agriculture, for they supply power
more than any other animal. Good breeding bulls are
necessary to improve the breed so that the quality and
stamina of the future cows and working bullocks may increase
and the production of food and milk may improve and be in
abundance. The dung of the animal is cheaper than the
artificial manures and is extremely useful. In short, the
backbone of Indian agriculture is in a manner of speaking
the cow and her progeny. Indeed Lord Linlithgow has truly
said-” The cow and the working bullock have on their patient
back the whole structure of Indian agriculture. ” (Report
on the Marketing of Cattle in India, p. 20). If, therefore,
we are to attain sufficiency in the production of food, if
we are to maintain the nation’s health, the efficiency and
breed of our Cattle population must be considerably
improved. To attain the above objectives we must devote
greater attention to the preservation, protection and
improvement of the stock and organise our agriculture and
animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines. We have,
therefore, to examine the provisions of the impugned Acts
and
671
ascertain whether they help in achieving the said
objectives, or are calculated to hinder that process. In
that context all the considerations above alluded to must
enter the judicial verdict and if the impugned Acts further
the aforesaid purpose then only can the restrictions imposed
by the impugned Acts be said to be reasonable in the
interest of the general public.

We turn now to the other side of the picture. In examining
the conspectus of the problem the Court cannot overlook the
fact, emphasised in the petition, that the petitioners and a
very large number of similarly situated persons, even if
their number does not come up to the figure mentioned in the
petition, are butchers (Kasais) by occupation and make an
income of about Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 per month and that they
will be seriously affected, if not completely thrown out of
occupation, by the impugned Acts. It is true, for reasons
hereinbefore stated, that they cannot complain that they
have been completely deprived of their occupation or
business but the enactments, if valid, will compel them to
make fresh arrangements for the supply of animals which are
permitted to be slaughtered for food. Theoretically it may
not be impossible for them to do so, but in practice it is
more than likely to cause considerable inconvenience to them
and may even involve extra expenses for them. The hide
merchants, who, they say in the petition, have made their
arrangements for the supply to them of hides of slaughtered
animals up to 95 % of their requirements, may find it
difficult to make fresh arrangements for procuring fallen
hides. The same observations may be made about the gut
merchants. The immediate effect of the operation of these
Acts is to cause a serious dislocation of the petitioners’
business without any compensatory benefit. In Saghir Ahmad
v. The State of U. P.
(1), at p. 727 this Court observed,
with respect to the persons engaged in running buses for
carrying passengers:

” One thing, however, in our opinion, has a decided hearing
on the question of reasonableness and that is the immediate
effect which the legislation is likely to
(1)[1955] 1 S.C.R. 707,724.

672

produce. Hundreds of citizens are earning their livelihood
by carrying on this business on various routes within the
State of Uttar Pradesh. Although they carry on the business
only with the aid of permits, which are granted to them by
the authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act, no
compensation has been allowed to them under the Statute. ”
Similar inconvenience may easily be supposed to have
befallen the petitioners and others of their class and the
immediate and possibly adverse impact of the impugned Acts
on their occupation or business must, therefore, be taken
into account as one Of the important factors in judging the
reasonableness or otherwise of the said Acts.
There is also no getting away from the fact that beef or
buffalo meat is an item of food for a large section of the
people in India and in particular of the State of Bihar and
Uttar Pradesh. Table 11 at p. 24 of the Report on the
Marketing of Cattle in India shows that in the year 1948 the
annual demand for cattle and buffaloes for purposes of food
was: 1.8,93,000 heads of cattle and 6,09,000 buffaloes.
These figures indicate that beef and buffalo flesh are used
for food by a large section of the people in India. It is
wellknown that poorer sections of Muslims, Christians and
members of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes consume beef and
buffalo flesh. There is also a limited demand for beef by
the foreign population. Buffaloes yield comparatively
coarse and tough meat of inferior quality and consequently
the demand for beef is greater than that for buffalo flesh.
Further the price of the buffalo flesh is 20 to 40% less
than that of beef. The prices of beef and buffalo meat are
much cheaper than that of mutton or goat’s meat and
consequently beef and buffalo flesh come within the reach of
the poorer people perhaps for a day or two in the week.
According to the figures given in the Report of the Expert
Committee at 1). 12, in 1938 in -Bombay the prices were Rs.
0-3-9 per pound of beef, Rs. 0-2-0 per pound of buffalo
flesh and Rs. 0-5-6 for mutton and goats’ flesh. In 1950
these prices went up respectively to Rs. 0-12-0, Rs. 0-11-0
and Rs. 1-3-0.

673

The comparatively low prices of beef, and buffalo flesh,
which are nearly half of that of mutton or goats’ flesh, is
the main reason for their demand. Habit is perhaps
secondary. Learned counsel for some of: the petitioners
cited the case of the boys and girls residing in boarding
houses attached to the Anglo-Indian schools where the only
meat which the boarding school authorities can afford to
supply as part of the diet of the growing children is beef
and that only on a day or two in the week. The Acts, if
enforced, will prevent them. from having even this little
bit of nourishment and amenity. It is true that after the
partition of the country the Muslim population has decreased
and further that some Muslims may not habitually take
beef or buffalo flesh, but even so a large section of the
poorer people belonging to the Muslim, Christian and
Scheduled Castes communities do consume beef and buffalo
flesh. And this is not merely a matter of amenity or luxury
but is at any rate partially’, a matter of necessity. Table
VII set out at p. 32 of the Memorandum on Human Nutrition
vis-a-vis Animal Nutrition in India recommends one ounce of
meat daily whereas the available quantity is much less and
the attainable quantity under the new plan may be 1/3 ounce
or a little more. Poorer people, therefore, who can hardly
afford fruit or milk or ghee are likely to suffer from
malnutrition, if they are deprived of even one out-ice of
beef or buffalo flesh which may sometimes be within their
reach. This aspect of the matter must also be taken into
account in assessing the reasonableness of the provisions of
the impugned Acts.

The number of cattle and buffaloes not fit for breeding or
working has already been set out. Further particulars in
detail are available from Appendices II and III to the
Report on the Marketing of Cattle in India. The figures
given there show that according to the 1951 census the total
number of unserviceable male cattle was 27,35,000 and that
of female cattle was 12,02,000. Out of these there were in
Bihar 2,93,000 male and2,42,000 female, in Madhya Pradesh
1,24,000 male and31,000 female and in Uttar Pradesh
674
1,63,000 male and 21,000 female. The unserviceable
buffaloes in the whole of India, according to 1951 census,
were 7,81,000 out of which 4,66,000 were males and 3,15,000
were females. Out of the total there were in Bihar 61,000
male buffaloes and 59,000 female, buffaloes, in Madhya
Pradesh 10,000 male and 5,000 female, in Uttar Pradesh
16,000 male and 12,000 female. According, to the First Five
Year Plan, p. 273, the overall estimates made by the Cattle
Utilisation Committee show that about 10 % of the cattle
population in India or roughly 1,14,00,000 adults were
unserviceable or unproductive. The Report of the Cattle
Preservation and Development Committee also put the figure
of old, decrepit and unproductive cattle at 10% of the total
population. Pandit Thakurdas Bhargava does not accept the
correctness of these figures. It is difficult to find one’s
way out of the labyrinth of figures and it will be futile
for us to attempt to come to a figure of unserviceable
agricultural animals which may even be approximately
correct. For our purpose it will suffice to say that there
is a fairly large number of cattle and buffaloes which are
not of any use for breeding or working purposes. The
position may be accepted as correctly summed up at p. 274 of
the First Five Year Plan where it is stated, inter alia,
that there is a deficiency of good milch cows and working
bullocks and that there exists a surplus of useless or
inefficient animals.

The presence of a large number of useless and inefficient
cattle in the midst of the good ones affect our agricultural
economy in two ways. In the first place and this is the
crux of the matter-this surplus stock is pressing upon the
scanty fodder and feed resources of the country and is an
obstacle to making good the deficit,. As pointed out by the
expert Committee Report at p. 59 the greatest handicap in
improving our cattle wealth is the lack of resources in
feeding them. Any effort to improve cattle will fail unless
they are properly fed. The table set out on that very page
of that Report records a deficiency of 6,00,00,000 tons, i.
e., 33% in straw or Kadbi 10,40,00,000 tons, i.e., 13% in
green fodder and 2,65,20,000 tons, i. e.,
675
70% in concentrates (i. e., oil cakes, bran, oil seeds,
maize’ barley and gram, etc.). It is pointed out that the
figures shown against green fodder are not the quantities
which are presently available but! which can be made
available if forest’ resources are fully, tapped. According
to this Report even if the forest resources are fully
utilised there will still be a deficiency of 13% in the
supply. The actual availability of this item is limited by
the fact that green fodder is, only available during the
monsoon months and much of this is wasted by the lack of
country-wide arrangements for its conservation. The
estimated requirements and the present supply of food stuffs
for animals is also given in Table V at p. 23 of the
Memorandum on Human Nutrition vis-a-vis Animal Nutrition in
India which tallies with and is more or less about the same
as those given in the Report of the Expert Committee above
referred to. Table V also shows a deficiency of 6,00,00,000
tons of straw or Kadbi 1,78,00,000 tons of green fodder.
The shortage of concentrates, i. e., oil cakes, maize,
barley, gram, cotton seed and bran vary between 8,50,000 to
71,17,000 tons. According to the estimate given in the
First Five Year Plan at p. 273 the quantity of fodder
available is about 75% of requirements while available
concentrates of feeds would suffice only for about 28 % of 1
the cattle. The, figures given at p. 24 of the report of
the Gosamvardhan Enquiry Committee set up by, the Uttar
Pradesh Government are interesting. The total cattle: and
buffalo population in, Uttar Pradesh is estimated at
3,27,63,327. The scientific food requirements of this total
population, according to, the Western standard, are: first
set out. Then begins a: process of scaling down, for the
above- scale is, considered to be somewhat lavish for our
low sized village cattle. The Indian standard, according to
this report, will, require much less and the figures,
according to Indian standards, are next set out. Evidently
these, figures also, show a, very big gap between,
requirements and the available, quantities. So the report
says that event, this may, be reduced and -what is
significantly
86
676
described as the ” critical limit ” is then set out. It is
not quite intelligible why an Indian cow should not require
even an Indian standard of ration. Be that as it may, even
for the ” critical limit ” the quantity available is far too
short. The gap between the critical limit and what is
available is respectively 1,80,00,000 tons of dry matter,
15,00,000 tons of protein and 28,61,70,00,000 therms. It is
conceded that the requirements of mixed population of
3,27,63,327 heads of animals may be taken as representing
2,71,30,000 adult units and with the present available
supply of straw, green feed and concentrates these adult
units cannot be fully fed even on the critical limit
standard. The available supply can support only 1,59,20,000
adult units leaving 1, 1 2, 1 0,000 units unfed. It is
recognised by this Report that with an increase in cattle
population and better prophylactic treatment against
contagious diseases, the trend of population will be towards
an increase and the deficiency in nutrition will become
still more pronounced. The remedy suggested is that
attention be paid urgently towards the production of more
fodder from cultivated land and utilisation of all marginal
and sub-marginal land for augmenting food and fodder
sources.

With a large population of animals in which the majority is
not yielding adequate and prompt returns to the owners, the
animals are naturally allowed to fenad for themselves and to
subsist on whatever the agriculturist is able to provide
from his scanty sources for the maintenance of his stock.
Naturally, therefore, the problem of substantial precentage
of uneconomical cattle has cropped up along with that of
stray, wild, old, diseased and uneconomical animals. These
old and useless animals roaming about at pleasure in search
of food are a nuisance and a source of danger in the
countryside. They grow wild and become a menace to the crop
production. As pointed out by the Report of the Expert
Committee, the danger was actually seen by the members of
that Committee in Pepsu where, it is significant to note,
the slaughter is banned completely.

677

The presence of a large number of old and useless animals
also has a bad effect on the quality of the breed. There is
a tendency for this population to multiply and bring into
being progeny of a very inferior kind which is bound to
adversely affect the production of milk or bullock power.
It is absolutely necessary that this surplus cattle should
be separated from the good and robust animals and a total
ban on slaughter of cattle and buffaloes will contribute
towards worsening the present condition.
The Cattle Preservation and Development Committee set up by
the Government of India in 1948 at p. 47 of its Report
recommended, as a panacea for the evil menace of useless
cattle, a scheme for the establishment of cattle
concentration camp for the old and useless cattle. It is
this scheme which subsequently came to be known by the name
of Gosadans. At pp. 48 and 49 are set out the estimates of
cost of establishing and running a camp to house 2,000
cattle. The non-recurring cost on land, cattle sheds, staff
and servants’ quarters is shown at Rs. 32,000 and the
recurring cost, namely, salary of manager, stock-man,
chaukidars. and others on the establishment together with
allowances is shown at Rs. 13,000 per year and it is hoped
that a sum of Rs. 5,000 will be derived from the sale of
hides, manure, etc. According to the Report of the Expert
Committee each Gosadhan housing 2,000 heads of cattle would
have to have 4,000 acres of land which would permit of a
rotational and controlled grazing practice and provision has
to be made for the surplus grass during the rainy season to
be preserved for the scarcity months. There should be
thatched sheds for protection of the cattle against weather
and wild animals and fodder is to be cultivated on a small
part of the 4,000 acres. By the end of 1954, when the
Report of the Expert Committee came to be made, the cost had
gone up from what they were in 1948 when the Cattle
Preservation and Development Committee Report had been made.
The estimated cost, according to the Report of the Expert
Committee, of establishing and running of a Gosadan for
2,000 heads of cattle is shown as: nonrecurring
678
Rs. 50,000, and recurring Rs. 25,000 per year. On this
basis the recurring cost alone will work out at Rs. 12.50
per head of cattle per annum for preserving useless cattle.
The figures given in the Gosamvardhan Enquiry Committee’s
Report are interesting. Taking the total number of cattle,%
in Uttar Pradesh not used for breeding or work at 1,83,276
in 1951, the State will require 91 Gosadans each with a
housing capacity for 2,000 heads of cattle. Even taking one
acre per animal instead of two acres per animal as
recommended by the Expert Committee Report, 91 Gosadan,s
will require nearly 2,00,000 acres of land. The cost of 91
Gosadans will be non-recurring Rs. 45,50,000 and recurring
Rs. 22,75,000 per annum. It appears from the revised model
for Gosadans for 500: heads of cattle to be run by the State
Governments set out in Appendix II to the Proceedings of the
Fifth Annual General Meeting of the Central Council of
Gosamvardhan held at Now Delhi on February 21, 1957, that
the non-recurring cost will be Rs. 39,000 and the recurring
running cost will be Rs. 12,000. It is estimated that there
will be an income of Rs. 2,500 from the sale of hides, etc.
Allowing this, the net annual recurring cost will be Rs.
9,500 for 500 heads of cattle which works out at Rs. 19 per
head of cattle per annum. As regards Gosadans to be run by
private institutions it is said in the same Appendix II that
those institutions will be given a subsidy of Rs. 18 per
head per annum out of which 75% would %,be contributed by
the Centre and the remaining 25% by the State. Thus for the
preservation of the useless cattle the country will pay Rs.
19 or Rs. 18 per head of such useless cattle per annum,
whereas our total national expenditure on education (Central
and States including local bodies) in 1955-1956 was only Rs.
4-9 per capita as against Rs. 104.6 per capita in the United
Kingdom and Rs. 223.7 per capita in the United States of
America and our target for 1957-1958 works out at Rs. 5 per
capita per annum. It will be noticed that in none of the
schemes is even a pice provided for fodder. The idea
evidently is that the cattle will be left there to fend for
themselves on whatever grass or
679
other green feed they can get by grazing. If one remembers
that though green fodder may be available in the monsoon
months, there will be a dearth, of them in the dry months,
one will at once see that the segregating of the cattle in
the concentration camp will only be to leave them to a fate
of slow death. The very idea that these animals should eke
out their livelihood by grazing and that Gosadans should be
located in out of the way places, appeared to the authors of
the Memorandum on Human Nutrition vis-a-vis Animal Nutrition
at p. 47, to belie the humanitarian considerations on the
basis of which the scheme was conceived.

Theory apart, the Gosadan scheme has ‘been tried and the
result is not at all encouraging. The First Five Year Plan,
obviously as an experimental measure, provided for the
establishment of 160 Gosadans each housing 2,000 heads of
cattle, at a cost of about Rs. 97,00,000. The Planning
Commission recognised that these measures would touch only
the fringe of the problem and the success of the movement
would depend on the amount of public support, especially
from charitable institutions that it received. The sheer
weight of the figures of expenses compelled the Gosamvardhan
Enquiry Committee to recognise that if the unwanted and
uneconomic cows and their progeny have to be effectively
saved from slaughter, the responsibility had to be shared by
the individual, the community and so on, for it would be
utterly impracticable to expect that the burden of
collection of such animals from villages and transporting
them to the Gosadans would be within the exclusive means and
competence of the State. That Committee certainly expected
the State to share a particular portion of the expenditure
which legitimately fell in its sphere of responsibility, but
the Committee felt, and said so in so many words, that by
far the most substantial portion of the responsibility
should rest on the owners and the community itself for it
was but equitable to expect that if the cow had to be really
saved from slaughter the cost on this account should be
equitably borne by the people and the State. This
680
part of the Report of the Gosamvardhan Enquiry Committee
reads like wishful thinking and amounts to only hoping for
the best. When the conscience of the individual or the
community did not prevent the Hindu owner from selling his
dry cow to the butcher for a paltry sum of Rs. 30 to Rs. 40
per head, when the Hindu sentiment for the divinity and
sanctity attributed to the cow has to be propped up by
legislative compulsion, when according to its own Report at
p. 41 the Dharmada and Brit collected by the Hindu busi-
nessmen on each commercial transaction ostensibly for the
benefit of the cow is not made available in full and finally
when Goshalas have had to be closed down for want of funds
and public support, when the country cannot spend more than
Rs. 5 per capita per annum on the education of the people,
it seems to be somewhat illogical and extravagant, bordering
on incongruity, to frame a scheme for establishment of
Gosadans for preserving useless cattle at a cost of Rs. 19
or Rs. 18 per head per annum and which will, for its
success, admittedly have to depend on the same elusive and
illusory public support or 75% subsidy from the Central
Government.

What has been the result of the experiment? According to
the Report of the Expert Committee since the First Five Year
Plan only 17 Gosadans had been started in Bihar, Uttar
Pradesh, Pepsu, Coorg, Bhopal, Kutch, Vindhya Pradesh,
Tripura and Saurashtra put together. Not even one of these
17 establishments is fully stocked. There are only about
5,293 animals in these 17 Gosadans instead of 34,000.
According to the Gosamvardhan Enquiry Committee’s Report,
only two Gosadans had been established up to the date of
that Report in Uttar Pradesh. The Second Five Year Plan (p.

283) shows that out of the 160 Gosadans for which provision
had been made in the First Five Year Plan, only 22 Gosadans
had been established. According to the Facts and Figures
about Bihar, 1955, p. 88, three Gosadans had been
established at Berwadih, Nirmali and Monghyr where there
were about 700 uneconomic animals at that time instead of
6,000 which should have been there as per the estimated
capacity for each Gosadan.

681

What, in the view of the several committees, is the
conclusion ? According to the Memorandum on Human Nutrition
Vis-a-vis Animal Nutrition in India, p. 4, the present
scheme of establishing Gosadans for segregating old and
useless animals can serve only a limited, purpose and if
extended countrywide, it is likely to hinder rather than
help the problem of disposing of, the surplus animals. At
p. 47 the authors of this Memorandum appear to have felt
that in advocating, the adoption of Gosadan Scheme on a
countrywide, basis, sufficient consideration had not been
given to its practical aspects. It is pointed out that
according to the present estimate the total number of
useless animals is four times the number the Second Five

-Year Plan had estimated and that consequently, having
regard to the huge size of our cattle population the
existing number of the useless section would remain
unchanged for many years to come and that a sum of Rs.
3,04,00,000 will be required only for pounding such animals.
The Expert Committee’s Report is quite definite and
emphatic. Paragraph 133 of that Report at P. 62 clearly
expresses the opinion that Gosadans do not offer a solution
to the problem. To house and maintain all these animals,
thousands of Gosadans on lakhs of acres of land would be
needed. In addition to the huge nonrecurring expenses, a
very high recurring annual expenditure would have to be
incurred., In view of this and in view of the indifferent
response from the States in setting up Gosadans, the Expert
Committee came to the conclusion that the Gosadan scheme was
not likely to offer any solution for the problem of useless
cattle and that it would be far more desirable to utilise
the limited resources of the country to increase the
efficiency of the useful cattle.

The Report of the Cattle Preservation and Development
Committee did not recommend the immediate total ban on the
slaughter of all cattle. They recommended the establishment
of concentration camps, later on euphemistically called
Gosadans, and though total ban was the ultimate objective,
it did not, for the moment, prohibit the slaughter of
animals over the age of 14 years and of animals of any age
682
permanently unfit for work or breeding owing, to age or,
deformity. In para. 134 of the Expert Committee’s Report
at, p. 63 it, is stated clearly that the total ban on the
slaughter of all cattle would not be in the best interests
of the country as it is merely a negative and not a positive
approach to the problem. They consider that a constructive
approach to the problem will be, to see that no useful
animal is slaughtered and that the country’s. resources are
fully harnessed to produce better and more efficient cattle.
Neither the First Five Year Plan nor -the Second Five Year
Plan accepted the idea of a total ban on the slaughter of
cattle. Indeed, according to the Second Five Year Plan, a
total ban will help the tendency for the number of surplus
cattle to increase and, in their view, a total ban on the
slaughter of all cows, calves and other milch and draught
cattle will defeat the very object of the directive
principles embodied in Art. 48 of the Constitution. We find
from para. 6 on p. 283 of the Second Five Year Plan that the
Gosadan scheme did not make any, real or satisfactory
progress and that altogether 22 Gosadans housing only 8,000
cattle had been established by the States up to the date of
that document and even then many of the States had
encountered difficulty in, securing the areas of land needed
for their; operations. The Planning Commission considered
that it would be impossible to establish enough of these
Gosadans and they reached the conclusion that in defining
the scope. of the ban on the slaughter of cattle the States
should take a, realistic view of the fodder resources
available in the country. and the extent to which they can
get the. co-operation of voluntary organisations to bear the
main responsibility for, maintaining unserviceable, and
unproductive cattle with a measure of assistance from the
Goverment land general support from; the people., As already
stated,’ the, Memorandum on Human Nutrition vis-a-vis,
Animal. Nutrition at p. 4 expressed the view that the
Gosadan scheme can, serve only a limited purpose and, if
extended countrywide was likely, to hinder, rather than help
the problem of disposing of the, surplus animals, appart
From the huge initial cost. A, large, concentration of
683
useless animals within a restricted area, the authors of
that Memorandum feared, might lead to considerable soil
erosion due to overgrazing and there might be every
possibility of contagious and parasitic diseases spreading
from these animals to the surrounding area. It is only the
Gosamvardan Enquiry Committee which had recommended an
immediate total ban on the slaughter of all cattle,
irrespective of age or sex. It should, however, be noted
that even that Committee did not recommend such a total ban
as a measure independent of all other considerations. Its
recommendation in this behalf was linked up with and was a
part of a scheme which depended, for its success, on a
variety of imponderable matters, like public enthusiasm and
support for the establishment and maintenance of Gosadans in
a high state of working, efficiency, the capacity of the
State to bring more lands under cultivation, reclamation of
the jungle lands and the like. It may be noted also that
although in some of the States total ban has been imposed on
the slaughter of cattle, many of the States have not con-
sidered it necessary to impose such a blanket ban. Thus the
Assam Cattle Protection Act, 1950, the Bombay Animal
Preservation Act, 1948, the West Bengal Animal Slaughter
Control Act, 1950, the Hyderabad Slaughter of Animal Act,
1950, the Travancore-Cochin Notification permit slaughter of
cattle and buffaloes over specified years of age. Even the
Madhya Pradesh Act, as criminally enacted, did not place a
total ban on the slaughter of all cattle.

In earlier times there being enough of pastures and smaller
human and cattle population and restricted needs, it was
possible to rear large and valuable herds and organise a
system of balanced economy as far as agricultural
development was concerned. Thus, while the country was
producing enough grain for the requirement of the human
population there was an adequate area available for
plentiful grazing of animals, which, supplemented by fodder
available from agricultural production, assisted in
developing the types of quality animals required for the
needs of the
87
384
times and the area in question (Report of the Gosamvardhan
Enquiry Committee). The position has considerably changed
since then. There has been a large increase in human
population and famines and epidemics having been largely
brought under control, there has been an increase in the
animal population also. Already there is a competition
between man and the animal for the available land. The
growing human population needs more food for which more land
is required. The refugee problem has yet to be solved and
sufficient land has to be found for settling the refugees
therein. With organised facilities for artificial
fertilisers and the introduction of scientific methods of
cultivation agricultural production is expected to increase
and the problem of food for human consumption may be capable
of a satisfactory solution. But as regards the cattle feed
the gap between the requirement and the available quantities
is so wide that there is little possibility, in any foresee-
able future, of the country producing enough to feed them
adequately.

To summarise: The country is in short supply of milch
cattle, breeding bulls and working bullocks. If the nation
is to maintain itself in health and nourishment and get
adequate food, our cattle must be improved. In order to
achieve this objective our cattle population fit for
breeding and work must be properly fed and whatever cattle
food is now at our disposal and whatever more we can produce
must be made available to the useful cattle which are in
presenti or will in futuro be capable of yielding milk or
doing work. The maintenance of useless cattle involves a
wasteful drain on the nation’s cattle feed. To maintain
them is to deprive the useful cattle of the much needed
nourishment. The presence of so many useless animals tends
to deteriorate the breed. Total ban on the slaughter of
cattle, useful or otherwise, is calculated to bring about a
serious dislocation, though not a complete stoppage, of the
business of a considerable section of the people who are by
occupation butchers (Kasais), hide merchants and so on.
Such a ban will also deprive a large section of the people
of what may
685
be their staple food. At any rate, they will have to forego
the little protein food which may be within their means to
take once or twice in the week. Preservation of useless
cattle by establishment of Gosadans is not, for reasons
already indicated, a practical proposition. Preservation of
these useless animals by sending them to concentration camps
to fend for themselves is to leave them to a process of slow
death and does no good to them. On the contrary, it hurts
the best interests of the nation in that the useless cattle
deprive the useful ones of a good part of the cattle food,
deteriorate the breed and eventually affect the production
of milk and breeding bulls and working bullocks, besides
involving an enormous expense which could be better utilised
for more urgent national needs.

We are not unmindful of the fact that beef and buffalo flesh
from calves under one year of age. heifers and young
castrated stock yielding meat of a superior quality fetch
comparatively higher prices in the market and, therefore,
the tendency of the butchers naturally is to slaughter young
calves. This circumstance clearly warns us that calves,
heifers and young castrated stock (cattle and buffalo) which
will in future supply us milk and power for purposes of
agriculture require protection. We also do not fail to bear
in mind that for very good and cogent reasons cows also
require protection. Cows give us milk and her progeny for
future service. Unfortunately, however, the average milk
yield of a cow, as already stated, is very much less than
that of a she-buffalo. As the Gosamvardhan Enquiry
Committee’s Report points out, despite all the veneration
professed for the cow, when it comes to the question of
feeding, the she-buffalo always receives favoured treatment
and the cow has to be satisfied with whatever remains after
feeding the she-buffaloes, bullocks, and calves in order of
priority. The growth of cities and heavy demand for milk in
the urban areas have contributed to the slaughter of good
stock. For want of space no freshly calved animal can be
brought in without getting rid of one that had gone dry.
Salvage facilities not being available or, if available,
686
being uneconomical, the professional gowalas, who are
mostly, if not wholly, Hindus, find it uneconomical to
maintain the cow after she goes dry and consequently sell
her to the butcher for slaughter at Rs. 30 to Rs. 50 per
head, irrespective of her age and potential productivity,
and import a fresh cow. The veneration professed for the
sanctity attached to the cow does not prevent them from
doing so. In big towns the municipal regulations are
stringent and slaughter is permitted only of unserviceable
and unproductive animals. Instances are not uncommon,
however, that to get an animal passed for slaughter, the
teeth or the rings round the horns of the animal are
tampered with and sometimes a cow is even maimed in order
that she may be passed by the veterinary inspector as fit
for slaughter. Cows, which are rejected by the inspector,
are taken out of the limits of the cities and slaughtered in
the rural areas. As slaughter is not confined to registered
slaughter houses, the number of useful animals which are
slaughtered cannot be given accurately. It is estimated in
the Report of the Expert Committee at p. 2 that at least
50,000 high yielding cows and she-buffaloes from cities of
Bombay, Calcutta and Madras alone are sent annually for
permature slaughter and are lost to the country. The causes
of slaughter of useful cattle are enumerated at pp. 2, 3,
and 9 of that Report, namely, lack of space in the cities
and suburban areas, long dry period, want of arrangement for
breeding bulls at the proper time, the anxiety to get as
much milk out of the cow as possible, -the high cost of
maintenance of cows in the cities and the difficulties in
the matter of obtaining adequate fodder. For these reasons
many animals are sent to the slaughter houses through sheer
economic pressure and are replaced by fresh animals imported
from breeding areas. The danger of such premature slaughter
is greater for the cow, for being an animal with a scanty
yield of milk it does not pay the owner to maintain her
through the long dry period and hence there is an inducement
for adopting even cruel practices to get her passed by the
inspectors. But a dry she-buffalo is well worth preserving
and maintaining
687
in expectation of rich return at the next lactation.
Besides, buffaloes for slaughter will not fetch as good a
price as cows would do. Likewise there will not be much
inducement to the agriculturist or other owner to part with
the breeding bulls or working bullocks (cattle and. buffalo)
as long as they are serviceable. For their sheer usefulness
and their high market value as breeding or working animals
the breeding bulls and working bullocks, as long as they are
fit, are, to the agriculturists, worth more than the price
of their flesh in gold. There can hardly be any inducement
for maiming valuable animals which, as breeding bulls or
working animals, can at any time fetch from the
agriculturists a price higher than what the maimed ones will
fetch from the butchers. The breeding bulls and working
bullocks (cattle and buffaloes) do not, therefore, require
as much protection as cows and calves do.

The next question is as to what should be the scope of the
ban on the slaughter of animals. One view is that the
slaughter of all animals (cattle and buffaloes) of all
categories should be regulated by the State and that animals
below a specified age or not suffering from some natural
deformity should not be allowed to be slaughtered. Drastic
and stringent regulations have been imposed by municipal
laws and have been tried but experience shows that they are
not sufficient at least to protect the cow. It has been
found to be extremely difficult to enforce the regulations
for inadequacy of staff and veterinary inspectors, little or
no check on the veterinary inspectors who succumb to the
pressure or inducements of the butchers and pass animals not
really useless as and for useless and aged animals. A large
percentage of the animals not fit for slaughter are
slaughtered surreptitiously outside the municipal limits.
For reasons of economy rapacious gowalas or callous
agriculturists find it uneconomical to maintain the dry cow
and even resort to cruel practices and maim the cow in order
to get her passed for slaughter. As already stated, the
she-buffalo and the breeding bulls and working bullocks
(both cattle and buffaloes) for their value, present and
688
future, do not ruin the same amount of danger as a dry cow
does. Regulation of slaughter of animals above a specified
age may not be quite adequate protection for the cow but may
be quite sufficient for the breeding bulls and working
bullocks and the she-buffaloes. These considerations induce
us to make an exception even in favour of the old and
decrepit cows. The counsel for the petitioners, be it said
to their credit, did not contend otherwise.
After giving our most careful and anxious consideration to
the pros and cons of the problem as indicated and discussed
above and keeping in view the presumption in favour of the
validity of the legislation and without any the least
disrespect to the opinions of the legislatures concerned we
feel that in discharging the ultimate responsibility cast on
us by the Constitution we must approach and analyse the
problem in an objective and realistic manner and then make
our pronouncement on the reasonableness of the restrictions
imposed by the impugned enactments. So approaching and
analysing the problem, we have reached the conclusion (i)
that a total ban on the slaughter of cows of all ages and
calves of cows and calves of she-buffaloes, male and female,
is quite reasonable and valid and is in consonance with the
directive principles laid down in Art. 48, (ii) that a total
ban on the slaughter of she-buffaloes or breeding bulls or
working bullocks (cattle as well as buffaloes) as long as
they are as milch or draught cattle is also reasonable and
valid and (iii) that a total ban on the slaughter of she-
buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle or buffalo) after they
cease to be capable of yielding milk or of breeding or
working as draught animals cannot be supported as reasonable
in the interest of the general public.

We now proceed to test each of the impugned Acts in the
light of the aforesaid conclusions we have arrived at The
Bihar Act, in so far as it prohibits the slaughter of cows
of all ages and calves of cows and calves of buffaloes, male
and female, is valid. The Bihar Act makes no distinction
between she-buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle and
buffaloes) which are
useful as milch or breeding or draught animals and those
which are not and indiscriminately prohibits slaughter of
she-buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle and buffalo)
irrespective of their age or usefulness. In our view the
ban on slaughter of she-buffaloes, breeding bulls and
working bullocks (cattle. and buffalo) which are useful is
reasonable but of those which are not useful is not valid.
The question as to when a she-buffalo, breeding bull or
working bullock (cattle and buffalo) ceases to be useful and
becomes useless and unserviceable is a matter for
legislative determination. There is no provision in the
Bihar Act in that behalf. Nor has our attention been drawn
to any rule which may throw any light on the point. It is,
therefore, not possible to apply the doctrine of
severability and uphold the ban on the slaughter of she-
buffaloes, breeding bulls and working bullocks (cattle and
buffalo) which are useful as milch or breeding or working
animals and strike down the ban on the slaughter of those
which are useless. The entire provision banning the
slaughter of she-buffaloes, breeding bulls, and working
bullocks (cattle and buffalo) has, therefore, to be struck
down. The result is that we uphold and declare that the
Bihar Act in so far as it prohibits the slaughter of cows of
all ages and calves of cows and calves of buffaloes, male
and female, is constitutionally valid and we hold that, in
so far as it totally prohibits the slaughter of she-
buffaloes, breeding bulls and working bullocks (cattle and
buffalo), without prescribing any test or requirement as to
their age or usefulness, it infringes the rights of the
petitioners under Art. 19 (1) (g) and is to that extent
void.

As regards the U. P. Act we uphold and declare, for reasons
already stated, that it is constitutionally valid in so far
as it prohibits the slaughter of cows of all ages and calves
of cows, male and female, but we hold that in so far as it
purports to totally prohibit the slaughter of breeding bulls
and working bullocks without prescribing any test or
requirement as to their age or usefulness, it offends
against Art. 19 (1) (g) and is to that extent void.

690

As regards the Madhya Pradesh Act we likewise declare that
it is constitutionally valid in so far as it prohibits the
slaughter of cows of all ages and calves of cows, male and
female, but that it is void in so far as it totally
prohibits the slaughter of breeding bulls and working-
bullocks without prescribing any test or requirement as to
their age or usefulness. We also hold that the Act is valid
in so far as it regulates the slaughter of other animals
under certificates granted by the authorities mentioned
therein.

In the premises we direct the respondent States not to
enforce their respective Acts in so far as they have just
been declared void by us. The parties will bear and pay
their own costs of these applications.

Petitions partly allowed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. More Information