Srinagar- The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Monday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition seeking a ban on the practice of slaughtering animals as part of ‘religious sacrifices’.
The plea was moved by Jammu based lawyer, Ankur Sharma on behalf of his client, Tek Chand from Kathua in the capacity of a Public Spirited Pujari of a Hindu Temple for a direction to declare Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 as unconstitutional.
The plea came a year after the High Court refused to entertain a PIL seeking direction to the government to enact a law prohibiting cow slaughter in the Union Territory.
The PIL had also sought a direction from the court to make the slaughter of cows in J&K a cognizable offence with strict punishment.
In the fresh plea, the Court noted that the petitioner had failed to disclose how he is the public-spirited person or the kind of activities taken by him in the past in public interest to recognize him as a public-spirited person.
The Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sindhu Sharma also noted that ordinarily, the Courts are always slow in interfering in religious matters or with sentiments based upon religion or on the practice of any community.
It may be noted that Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act provides that nothing contained in the Act shall render it an offense to kill the animals in a manner required by the religion or any community.
Apart from this, taking into account the averments in the plea against the practice of religious sacrifice of animals, the Court observed thus:
“Which practice of slaughtering or sacrificing animals is legal or illegal depends upon the traditions and customs of a particular religion and the place of worship. It is a matter of evidence which cannot be appreciated in the exercise of discretionary jurisdiction” reads the order, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer.
“Which practice of slaughtering or sacrificing animals is legal or illegal depends upon the traditions and customs of a particular religion and the place of worship. It is a matter of evidence which cannot be appreciated in the exercise of discretionary jurisdiction,” the Court said.
Chand stated in his plea that the religion of Islam does not prescribe any form of animal sacrifice and the same is a ‘cruel age-old practice that has arisen out of the misinterpretation of the texts of the Islamic faith’.
Not only Qurbani but any other form of accepted cruelty to animals is beyond the imagination of a civilized society and the same is constitutionally abhorrent and requires it to be banned, the plea added.
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