Calcutta High Court gets tough on Cow Slaughter

Stern observation raises hope to call heinous practice a halt

As part of a significant development, in an interim order, a Division Bench of Calcutta High Court has asked the state of West Bengal to execute provisions pertaining West Bengal Animal Slaughter (Control) Act , 1950, every time that any cow slaughter on Bakr-e-Id is brought to its notice. It has been learnt that the concerned authorities are all set to take cognizance of the Act and act in keeping with law, a Bench of Mr. Justice Harish Tandon and Mr. Justice Soumen Sen observed.

Taking heed a PIL last week on the issue of sacrificing cows and its progeny as a religious ritual on the occasion of Id, the court gave directions that if either petitioners or respondents had anything more to say it would have to be on sworn statement or affidavit. The matter will turn up for another hearing once the court reopens on October 31.

The petitioners ought to inform the court if they come across such incident and when they report it to the authorities who fail to take any action in the matter, the Division Bench inter alia observed in the seven page interim order. “It is inconceivable that the state after enacting West Bengal Animal Slaughter (Control) Act, 1950 should shirk its responsibility of due implementation thereof.”

The Division Bench overruled the objection of the state counsel on the ground if there is no absolute ban on slaughter of animals, such slaughter is restricted in West Bengal. Right to grant exemption under a provision of the 1950 Act has been declared by this court earlier to be not under religious compulsion, it was pointed out.

What makes the Bengal administration recoil at each time there is a need to call cow slaughter a halt? Experts cite two main factors behind this – political compulsion of the ruling clique entailing fear of losing minority votes and fear of Muslim backlash.

Will the government of “Poriborton” be able to win over all and make cow slaughter a thing of the past? It is to be seen.

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