The Jammu and Kashmir High Court ban on the sale of beef in the State hogged the news headlines on Thursday with few realising that it was only the reiteration of an over 150-year-old law.
Because of its special status, the State has two penal codes, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), both of which have almost all sections in common except for a few.
Under section 298A of the RPC, intentionally killing or slaughtering a cow or like animal (including ox and buffalo) is a cognisable, non-bailable offence punishable with 10 years imprisonment and fine.
Under section 298B, possessing the flesh of such an animal is a cognisable, non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment of one year and fine.
Enacted in 1862
The RPC was enacted in 1862 by the then Dogra maharaja of the State while the IPC also came into force in India the same year.
A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal directed the Director General of Police (DGP) on Wednesday to ensure strict compliance of the order on beef by issuing appropriate directions to all the Senior Superintendents (SSPs) and Station House Officers (SHOs) in the State. The bench was hearing a public suit filed before it.