Gujarat Court: Life imprisonment for 22-year-old accused of ‘illegally’ transporting cow ‘Religion is born out of cow; problems on earth will be solved the day cow slaughter is stopped, houses made of cow dung are not affected by atomic radiation’ while convicting a 22 year old to a life in jail

11, Feb 2023 | CJP Team

A Court in Gujarat’s Tapi District recently sentenced a 22-year-old man to life imprisonment for illegally transporting cattle from the state of Maharashtra. While pronouncing his sentence, the Sessions Judge S. V. Vyas said that all problems of the earth will be solved and the well-being of the earth will be established the day no drop of blood of cow drops on the earth, reported LiveLaw. Presiding over the District Court, Tapi, Judge Vyas further added that religion is born out of a cow as religion is in the form of ‘Vrishabha’ (bull), and the son of a cow is called ‘Vrishabha’.

Also reporting this case, The Indian Express, further provided that the Sessions court judge stressed on the need to protect cows all over the country, saying “science has proved houses made of cow dung remain unaffected by atomic radiation”. He had also observed that cow’s urine can cure many incurable diseases. This judgment was pronounced in November while the order has made available recently. The judge in his order had expressed displeasure over slaughtering of cows and noted a cow is “our mother”, not just an animal.

The Court also cited a Sanskrit shloka that asserts that if cows become extinct, the universe will cease to exist, and that cows, including their six organs, are responsible for the origin of the Vedas. To emphasize that killing cows is prohibited, the Court alluded to two further Shlokas that can be roughly translated as follows:

Where cows remain happy all wealth and property is gained. Where cows remain unhappy wealth and property remains unhappy and disappear…Cow is the mother of Rudra, daughter of Vasu, sister of Aditiputras and treasure of DhrutroopAmrit.”

Commenting sharply on the slaughter of the animals, the Court also stated that cow murder and illegal transit are a disgrace to civilized society, and that the cow is not just an animal, but also the mother and that is why it is given the mother’s name. The judge went further and said that a cow is repository of compassion, a‘living planet of 68 crore holy places and thirty-three crore gods.”  According to the judge, a cow’s commitment to the entire Universe transcends description. When there is no drop of cow blood in the world, all issues will be solved and the earth’s well-being will be established. The judge also reportedly lamented that while there is a lot of rhetoric about cow protection and cow rearing, but it is rarely put into practice.

The Court concluded that the prosecution had been able to prove that the accused was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident, from which Cows and their offspring were recovered, and that there was no reason for the police to falsely implicate the accused in the case after reviewing the evidence presented. The Court also ruled that the prosecution had been able to establish that the accused lacked a certificate from a competent authority or written permission to transport livestock, thus the court had to assume that the accused was transporting cattle for slaughter.

After the trial, the Sessions court found him guilty under relevant sections of the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act, 2011, Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2017, and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The Court further stated in its 24-page ruling, written in Gujarati, that in the current scenario, 75% of the cow’s wealth has been lost or destroyed, leaving only 25% of its wealth.

The Accused has been held guilty under Sections 5, 6, 7 of the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act, 2011, Section-11 (1) (d),(e), (f),(h) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, Section 2 of Gujarat Control of Animal Transportation Order, 1975 and Section 4 of Gujarat Essential Commodities And Animal Control Act, 2015 as well as section-125 (e) of Central Motor Vehicle (11th Amendment)Act,2015 and he has been sentenced to imprisonment for life along with a fine of Rs. 5 lakhs.

In 2017, the state government had introduced a stringent anti-cow slaughter law in the form of the ‘Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2017’, which has the provision for life term for anyone found guilty of cow slaughter or having any direct involvement in such illegal act. Through this new law, the maximum punishment for cow slaughter was prescribed as life term or 14 years, but not less than seven years. Along with the jail term, anyone convicted of cow slaughter have to pay a fine ranging from Rs1 lakh to Rs5 lakh.

Brief background of present case

In August 2020, the Tapi police arrested Mohammad Aamin Anjum, a resident of Maharashtra’s Malegaon town, for allegedly trying to transport 16 cows and bullocks in a truck to Gujarat. When the police had intercepted the truck, a cow and a bullock were already dead as there was not enough space or food in the vehicle for the cattle. Anjum had fled the spot after abandoning his truck, but he was later nabbed.

He was booked, inter alia, under the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2011, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Gujarat Essential Commodities and Cattle (Control) Act, 2005 as well as the Central Motor Vehicles (Eleventh Amendment) Rules, 2015.

The judgment can be viewed here.

Portals and newspapers have reported on this November 2022 order by a Tapi court. It pertains to a case of one Mohammad Ameen, who was arrested in August 2020 for transporting 16 cows, allegedly without proper arrangement for the animals to sit, eat or drink. In addition to the life imprisonment and what Bar and Bench calls ‘several lesser punishments,’ Ameen was also fined Rs 5 lakh by the court.

Politics of Cow Slaughter Laws and its Misuse

India is a country with myriad number of legislations in place to govern its citizens. As society is progressing, laws fitting to the needs of the society are being brought in with the aim of keeping up with the dynamic needs of the people. These laws also contain with them such procedures and burden of proofs that ensure that the rights of the accused are maintained and protected till they are proven guilty. Even for the crime of murder and rape, the burden of proof is on the State, and the fundamental principle of natural justice is followed- the accused remains innocent until proven guilty.

In the recent times, this principle has been reversed. With more and more weaponised and discriminatory laws, such as the Cow slaughter laws and the anti-conversion laws, being introduced, it is no exaggeration to say that nobody fully understands these laws now.

In the case of India’s cow slaughter laws, it is pertinent to note that there is no constitutional mandate to prohibit beef consumption, not on its transportation, sale or purchase in India. Yet, stringent laws are being introduced in many states and minorities, to target most especially livelihood options of Muslims and Dalits.

Since states are enacting their own laws, there is a lack of uniformity amongst the legislations, with laws ranging from a complete prohibition in some states, to no ban in others, and partial restrictions in others. Some states prohibit the consumption of beef, while others do not. There are slaughter bans on some bovine species but not others, on some cattle of a certain age but not others, on some cattle of a certain gender but not the rest. There are limits on beef possession in certain states and no clarity in others, as well as transport bans in some regions and regulations on time, temperature, and carrying conditions in others. None of it makes a coherent kind of jurisprudence, making it easier for the judgements that often seem irrational to be delivered.

This is not the first time that the Gujarat sessions court has given a judgement where there is a clear misuse of law as well as complete ignorance of the legislative procedures and cross-checks set under the principles of natural justice. The state of Gujarat is determined to put these twisted laws into action. Before we look at previous judgements on the same lines, Sabrangindia’s special investigation into the ‘missing cows and bullocks in Gujarat’ tells its own story. In August 2020, a two part investigation titled, The Missing Cows of Gujarat detailed ‘How Cow Protection Laws have failed to protect the animal in the state. The article pertinently noted that,

“Gujarat’s farmers, hindered by an unrealistic legislation steeped in rhetoric and a dishonest objective, are illegally culling and disposing off the bovine animals: a close scrutiny of the 2012 Livestock Census data figures on breeding cows and female calves, the expected population are revealing: whereas in 2019 the figures of cows in the state should have been 114.04 lakhs, in reality only 76.26 lakhs cows were reported in the census.  The data shows that around 37.78 lakh cows went missing during the period, which means these were illegally culled and disposed of by the farmers.   The missing cow phenomenon was not a one-time aberration but consistent.”

The second part, Part II: Disappearing Bullocks, Missing Cows, how Gujarat’s Farmers dodge an impracticable Cow Protection Law analyses how, among other aspects,

“How even the Supreme Court’s endorsement of a stringent amendment to the Gujarat Cattle Preservation Act in 2005, has failed to protect either bullocks, male calves or cows, never mind the political rhetoric behind the law. he disappearance of Gujarat’s cows in the past seventy years was detailed in the first part of this Investigation. Part II of this exclusive data-driven study reveals that during the census period 2012-2019, around 56.42 lakh males (bullocks) were culled and eliminated from the population illegally, which included 25.27 lakh native breed plus 31.15 lakhs crossbred males. Considering the 37.8 lakhs missing cows described in the earlier article, the Gujarat state, which claims to be a serious protector of cow progeny, failed to save 94.22 lakhs cattle with an average elimination rate of one lakh cattle every month. Is  the state not aware of this persistent culling that has resulted in these ‘disappearances’?  “

Clearly, something is happening at the grassroots with catelliers taking decisions out of sync with this stringent legislation!

Other such cases

In July 2019, a man was tried and convicted for cow slaughter after a neighbour had accused him of stealing his calf and slaughtering it to serve at his daughter’s wedding. Rather than being accused of theft, he was investigated for the crime of slaughter. Despite the fact that the prosecution had no proof, and the Forensic Science Laboratory in Rajkot couldn’t even confirm that the meat served at the wedding dinner was beef, the accused was convicted. In the said case, the Sessions Court judge, Hemant Kumar Dave, had stated that the accused must prove that the meat contained in the biryani was not obtained by slaughtering the calf. Thus, the onus of proving was put on the accused. He was then convicted for ten years.

In September 2019, the above-mentioned sentence was suspended by an embarrassed Gujarat High Court with the judge using ‘judicial discretion’, and the man was ordered to be freed. The government said it would appeal. Thus, not only the sessions court unlawful and unmindful order disrupted the life of the accused, it also put more unnecessary pressure on the already burdened judiciary of the our country.

This brings us back to the question: are these rules and laws being misused?

In this case, where the accused has been granted a life term sentence and the judge has written essays on the importance of cows in the sustenance of our world, it will not be wrong to observe that such a selective and irrational application of law are driven by blind religious beliefs and have no basis in rationality or science.

Cow protection is not a religious issue, and unfortunately, it is being made into one. Extremist Hindu outfits are using the issue of cow slaughter to blame and otherise the Muslim and Dalit community. As the general election approach, the extremist Hinduvta outfits are pushing their communal agenda with more strength.

A deep analysis of the cow slaughter laws in place in multiple states of India can be read here.



Cow Slaughter Prevention Laws in India

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Court orders 12 UP cops to be booked for murder of farmer: Cow Vigilantism

Gujarat: ‘Cow Dung Protects From Atomic Radiation’, Says Local Court While Sentencing Youth to Life


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