Uttarakhand News

Uttarakhand HC declares itself legal guardian of cows to protect them

In a landmark judgement, Uttarakhand high court on Monday appointed itself as the legal guardian of the cows in the state. The court invoked the doctrine of ‘parens patriae‘ which allows the court to become legal guardian for cows and other stray cattle and gave mandatory directions towards cow protection. With this judgment the Uttarakhand HC banned the slaughter of cow, bull, bullock, heifer or calf as well as selling of beef and beef products all across Uttarakhand.

Parens Patriae’ which is Latin for ‘parent of his or her country’ is a special power that could be invoked by a state regarded as a sovereign to provide protection to those who are unable to take care of themselves. The court after came after a PIL filed in 2017 by a Roorkee resident who asked for court’s intervention regarding illegeal cow slaughter in his village. However, High Court enlarged the scope of PIL to give directions for cow protection across the state.

Key Directions given by High Court on Cow Protection

  • All Circle Officers in Uttarakhand were directed to patrol the rural areas once in 24 hours to ensure no cows are slaughtered
  • Prosecute cattle owners if their cattle are found on the streets, roads and public places
  • For smooth traffic flow, the chief engineers of national highways and state highways, the village panchayats, and the municipal bodies, have been directed to ensure that “no stray cattle come onto the roads”
  • For transportation of cattle, there should be provision for construction of ramps and vehicles should be driven at speeds not more than 10-15 kms/hr to avoid injuries to animals
  • State government directed to register cases against the persons who leave vagrant any cow progeny and free wandering a cow after milking
  • The court mandated all veterinary hospitals in Uttarakhand to provide medical treatment of stray cattle brought to them by any citizen
  • Construction of ‘gaushalas’ on scientific lines and levying no additional charges for supplying water and electricity to these gaushalas.

Inputs from Indian Express, Original report by Kavita Upadhyay