fifty years ago January 12, 1972 Archives

From the Archives (January 12, 1972): Cow and calf not religious symbol

Ahmedabad, Jan. 16: The Gujarat High Court yesterday dismissed an election petition filed against Congress-R supported independent candidate Indulal Yagnik who was returned to the Lok Sabha from the Ahmedabad city constituency in the mid-term poll. The petitioner, Mr. Prasannadas Patwari, had alleged that Mr. Yagnik had used the “religious symbol” of the “Cow and Calf” for furthering his election prospects and had therefore committed a corrupt practice. The court, rejecting the contention, referred to a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Ramanbhai Ashabhai versus Dabhai Ajitkumar where in the court had observed that any particular object, bird or animal could be regarded as a symbol of Hindu religion. The court held that though in India a high spiritual and mystical significance was attached, a pictoral representation of a cow or a calf did not symbolise the religion. The court said that it was not possible to say that by looking at the picture of cow and calf, the whole religious concept was evoked in the mind of the viewer. Even in common experience it was seen that cows were grossly neglected by Hindus and they were left strolling on the roads seeking food from garbage, the court said. If the cows with their ribs and bones projecting out did not evoke any religious sentiments or a protest on the grounds of religion, it was difficult to say that a mere picture of a calf and cow would, it said. The court, therefore, held that calf and cow was not a “religious symbol” and the use of it by Mr. Yagnik did not amount to a corrupt practice within the meaning of Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People's Act, 1951.

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