The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday recommended the state government to make cow a “legal entity” and get it declared as National Animal by representing the case before the centre. Court has also asked the state government to increase the punishment for cow slaughter to life imprisonment from 3 years jail.
A single-judge bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma passed the directive on a public interest litigation over the death of more than 500 cows at a government-run shelter at Hingonia, near Jaipur. The order also recommends the appointment of the state Chief Secretary and Advocate General as “persons in Loco Parentis” to ensure cows’ conservation and breeding. The order also says that State Chief Secretary and Advocate General to take steps to get the directions implemented.
In an unusual style, Judge Mahesh Chandra Sharma told media that India should follow footsteps of Nepal and declare the cow as its national animal, "If Nepal being a Hindu Nation can do it? Why can India not make cow as its national animal? All the 20 point recommendations that I pronounced today inside the court is "voice of my soul", Chandra told media.
The High Court also directed the state government to include a provision of life imprisonment under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export), Act, 1995. In a 139-page order, Judge has stated that India is a predominantly agricultural country, based on animal rearing. As per Article 48 and 51A (g) it is expected from the state government that they should take action to get a legal entity for cow in this country. Interestingly the court's recommendations came a day after Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in an interview with a newspaper agency stressed that firm action will be taken against those behind violent crimes, including cow vigilantes.
Speaking on behalf of the government Additional Advocate General AS Gill who attended the compliance meeting in court told media, "These are only recommendations and we will read all the twenty points then decide which ones can be implemented", Gill said.
Poonam Chand Bhandari who had filed the plea found the directives shocking. He told DH, "The plea was regarding the mismanagement done by the state government. But none of the directives stated here answer those questions."
The order was made while the court was hearing the Hingonia Gaushala matter, a government-owned cow shelter situated 35 kilometres from Jaipur. In Rajasthan, where the BJP is in power, over thousands of cows had perished at the government-run cowshed in Jaipur during 2016. Taking a note of this Jaipur Mayor was also asked to resign and fresh elections took place in the month of October. As the initial probe revealed the negligence by government officials at the shelter.
Comparing Cow With the Peacock:
In a shocking statement Judge Mahesh Chandra while explaining his judgment on why the cow deserves to be given the 'national animal' tag he compared it with the Peacock 'national bird of India' told a TV channel " The peacock is a pious bird as it maintains celibacy as it does not have sex with peahen. In this case, peahen gives birth after it gets impregnated with the tears of the peacock and that's how a peacock or a peahen is then born".
The recommendation comes two months after two incidences of attacks by cow vigilantes stirred the state. In the first one, Gau Rakshaks attacked a Hotel owner and staff in Jaipur for allegedly selling beef. But the FSL report after a month proved that meat was of chicken. In another instance, Vigilante attacked a 55-year-old cattle trader, Pehlu Khan in Alwar and four others. Pehlu Khan died, his companions were injured.
Interestingly Rajasthan is the first state to have a separate Cow Rehabilitation Ministry after the bill was passed in 2014. And a few months ago Education Minister of Rajasthan had said that Cow is the only animal that inhales and exhales oxygen.