How can BSF keep a check on cows smuggled out: SC

Dealing with a petition that the country is losing its best cows to smugglers sneaking them across the border to Bangladesh, the Supreme Court observed that security forces, who already find it tough to keep terrorists out, cannot be expected to keep an eye on cows crossing over too.

“We can't stop terrorists from infiltrating... how can we deploy people for cows?” Justice J.S. Khehar asked senior advocate Soli Sorabjee on Friday.

The court, however, issued notice to the Centre and States, asking them for a response on measures taken to tackle cattle smugglers.

Cross-border smuggling

Mr. Sorabjee, who represents Akhil Bharat Krishi Goseva Sangh, a Maharashtra-based registered public trust, blamed the rampant cross-border smuggling of live cattle, for the dipping nutrition levels.

“Recently, the livestock census of 2013 has put the cattle: human ratio at 157 per 1000 humans,” the Sangh's petition said. It said the smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh has led to an “overall disruption of the ecosystem”.

“It would be relevant to mention that export of live cattle and buffaloes is prohibited under Section 5 of Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act of 1952 but due to various syndicates operating, the smuggling of cattle is unchecked and rampant on the porous borders of Bangladesh,” the petition said.

Besides, demanding that the government plug the leaks on the Indo-Bangladesh border, the Sangh sought a directive from the court to Customs and border security authorities to not to auction the cows seized from smugglers, but return them to gaushalas.

But Justice Khehar asked Mr. Sorabjee if he had any documents to back claims of “large scale illegal export” of cows to Bangladesh.

“We can't stop outsiders from coming in... it’ s such a weak, porous border. If BSF starts looking at cows, how will they stop terrorists from coming in,” Justice Khehar said.

Having said this, Justice Khehar told Mr. Sorabjee that the court has already directed the Centre, on a separate petition, to make rules to ensure that cattle, exported from India to Nepal for sacrifice at Gadhimai festival in that country are not tortured or starved on the way.

“We will ask the government to consider your plea on the plight of cattle exported to Bangladesh too,” Justice Khehar said.

The court then posted the case for July.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2022 6:47:18 pm |