MHA issues advisory on cow vigilantes

Updated - December 04, 2021 10:53 pm IST

Published - August 09, 2016 09:02 pm IST - New Delhi

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for action against fake cow protection groups, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a strongly-worded advisory to the States that there should be “no tolerance” for persons who take law into their hands in the name of “cow protection” and they should be punished as per law, without “any exception.” The MHA said that persons committing crimes in the name of cow protection was not an “acceptable situation.”

Quoting the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the Home Ministry said in its advisory that. “Historically cattle have a very special, respected and venerated status in Indian culture and history. In this regard, Father of the Nation had stated that Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of that [which] lives, is helpless and weak in the world.”

The MHA’s advisory said that laws pertaining to cow preservation or prohibition of slaughter vary from State to State. “In States where slaughter of cows is prohibited by law, such slaughtering would be in violation of law, and an offence. However, that does not entitle any individual or group of persons to take action on their own to prevent the alleged slaughter or punish the alleged wrong doers,” the advisory issued to all States read.

The advisory also said that Directive Principles of State Policy provide for the preservation of cows and Article 48 of the Constitution of India said that “the State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.”

The MHA said that Section 39 of the Criminal Procedure Code required that “any person aware of the commission of certain offences or intention thereof is required to give information to the nearest Magistrate or police officer of such commission or intention. Therefore, if an offence is committed, or about to be committed, such an offence, or possibility of offence is required to be brought to the notice of the concerned police authorities or magistrate for appropriate action as per law. No person can, under any circumstances, take the law into their own hands.”

It further said that, “any person, or persons, doing so have to be dealt with strictly under the relevant laws, and brought to justice in the quickest possible fashion, for the strictest punishment.”

“Recently some incidents have been reported where certain persons or groups have taken law into their own hands in the name of protecting cows and have committed crimes in pursuance thereof. This is not an acceptable situation. The States are, therefore, enjoined upon, and expected, to ensure that any person who takes law into his/her own hands is dealt with promptly, and punished as per law. There should be no tolerance at all for such persons and full majesty of law must come to bear on them, without exception,” the advisory said.

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