SC: Laws prohibiting cow slaughter constitutional

The Supreme Court today upheld the constitutional validity of laws prohibiting the slaughter of cattle, but said that they could not be interpreted to mean that permission to kill bovine cattle was by itself unconstitutional.

A bench of Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal and Justice Tarun Chatterjee arrived at this view while dismissing appeals filed by a Hindu outfit and animal rights activists against a Karnataka High Court decision dismissing their plea seeking a direction to the state government to impose a total ban on the slaughter of bovine cattle.

Interestingly, the judges drew the logic for the refusal from an October, 2005, judgment of its seven-member Constitution Bench, which had upheld the validity of a Gujarat law prohibiting cow-slaughter.

At that time, the Supreme Court had based its decision on the command to the state in Article 48 of the Constitution. ''The Constitution Bench of this court in that case held such a legislation to be unconstitutional in the light of the finding that the legislation was in furtherance of the directive in Article 48 and any enactment which furthers the cause in the Directive Principles of State Policy cannot be held to be unconstitutional,'' the bench ruled today.

The Hindu Jagran Vedike and some activists had challenged the constitutional validity of the Mysore Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, which imposes a total ban on the slaughter of cows and the calves of she-buffaloes, but allows the killing of other bovine animals subject to clearance from competent authorities.

PIL seeks probe into Scorpene deal

NEW DELHI: A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a probe into allegations of involvement of middlemen and payment of kickbacks in the multi-crore Scorpene submarine deal. The petition was filed by the Citizens Forum against Corruption, Centre for Public Interest Litigation and Transparency International India. Senior Counsel Prashant Bhushan who filed the PIL, demanded a court-monitored probe into the entire issue, which has snowballed into a major political controversy with the BJP-led NDA using it to corner the UPA government.

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