Read Judgement: Parvez & Ors vs. State of U.P 

LE Staff

Prayagraj, August 16, 2021: While quashing a detention order, the Allahabad High Court has ruled that an act of slaughtering a cow in the secrecy of one’s own house in the wee hours, probably because of poverty or lack of employment or hunger, would only involve a law and order issue.

A Division Bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Saroj Yadav observed that such act of private slaughtering could not be said to stand on the same footing as a situation where a number of cattle have been slaughtered outside in public view and the public transport of their flesh or an incident where aggressive attack is made by the slaughterers against the complaining public, which may involve infractions of public order. 

The observation came pursuant to the detention of the petitioners in custody of the police authorities merely on the basis of a solitary incident of cutting beef in pieces and selling it secretly from home. 

The counsel for petitioners contended that the incident took place in the secrecy of their home, and it was not an act which was intended to cause a conflagration or an act of confrontation where a number of cows may have been slaughtered or assault made on persons who protested against the slaughtering.

The Division Bench found that that the petitioners and co-accused were mutely arrested when they were found cutting beef in the wee hours of the morning in the house of the petitioners. 

“It is thus, a matter of quality and degree whether the act has been done in public gaze and in an aggressive manner with scant regard to the sentiments of the other community or whether it has been done in a concealed manner, which can resolve the question whether the case is one involving public order, or is only a matter affecting law and order,” noted the Bench. 

Justice Sinha observed that in exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution, this Court can certainly see whether the activities complained of have resulted in an infringement of public order or only involve a law and order issue. 

The Bench said that in the instant case, the case of the petitioners/detenues, which is a case of cutting cow beef in pieces in the secrecy of their own house, can at best be described as a matter affecting law and order and not public order. Moreover, there was no material for reaching the conclusion that the petitioners/detenues would repeat the activity in future, added Justice Sinha. 

The High Court noted that the grounds of detention clearly indicate that the incident had taken place in the secrecy of the house of the petitioners/detenues at 5.30 in the morning. It was a solitary incident of cutting cow beef in pieces away from the public eye.

The Court further went on to observe that to the specific averment in the writ petition that the petitioners/detenues had no criminal history and there was no material to indicate that the petitioners/detenues on being released from jail would again indulge in the activity of cutting cow beef in pieces to sell, there was no specific denial in the counter affidavit of the District Magistrate, which simply mentioned that on the basis of the solitary incident the petitioners/detenues could be preventively detained.

Therefore, while releasing the petitioners, the High Court opined that there was no material to indicate that the petitioners/detenues had any criminal history and it was only a surmise based on no material or evidence that the petitioners/detenues might have been earlier involved in such an incident and he may show such a repetitive tendency, in case they will be released on bail.

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