Chandigarh, November 24, 2023: As per media reports, the Allahabad High Court has said there is no restriction on the transportation of beef within the state or from any place outside Uttar Pradesh to any place inside as per the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 1955.
The court said the restriction under the Act is only in respect of transportation of cows, bulls or bullocks, that too from a place outside the state to a place within.
According to the news published The Indian Express, Justice Pankaj Bhatia wrote in the order, “The restrictions on transportation in terms of the Act and the Rules framed there under is only applicable in respect of transportation of cow, bull or bullock that too in any place in Uttar Pradesh from any place outside the State.
“ In the entire Act or the rules there exists no provision barring transportation of beef. The restriction placed under Section 5A of the Cow Slaughter Act is only in respect of transportation of cow, bull or bullock that too only from a place outside the State to any place within the State. There is no bar or restriction of transport of beef even from any place outside the State to any place inside the State…”, The Allahabad High Court said.
The court was hearing a criminal revision petition filed by Vaseem Ahmad of Fatehpur, who was booked in a case in 2021 under section 8/5/3 of the Act. It was booked on allegations that four people who were on two motorcycles were apprehended, they fled leaving behind the motorcycles and that “one quintal and 200 grams of beef was allegedly recovered from the bags” on inspection. Ahmad was booked as he owned one of the motorcycles.
Ahmad moved an application for the release of his motorcycle during the pendency of the case. The Fatehpur superintendent of police said in a report that Ahmad was chargesheeted and the motorcycle in question was made a case property and was liable to be confiscated. The district magistrate also ordered that the vehicle was liable to be confiscated.
Ahmad’s lawyer, Pradeep Kumar, argued “that the confiscation is contrary to the mandate of the Act and also violates the rights enshrined under Article 300(A) of the Constitution of India as the confiscation is not a proper exercise of power” and that “the order deserves to be quashed”.
The government counsel justified the district magistrate’s order by arguing that as per the report, the vehicle was used for transporting beef.
In its order, the high court said, “To attract the power of confiscation conferred by virtue of Rule 7 of Section 5A, it is essential to allege and establish that the vehicle on which beef is being transported is done in violation of the provisions of this Act and the relevant rules. It is essential to note that for transportation of cow, bull or bullock specific rules for issuance of permit are prescribed under Rule 16, however, the transportation of the cow, bull or bullock, within the State of Uttar Pradesh (as is in the present case) does not require any permit as has also been held by this Court in the case of Ashfaq Ahmad vs. State of UP & another.”
“I have no hesitation in holding that the power of confiscation has been exercised without any authority of law and on a misreading of section 5A(7) of the Cow Slaughter Act and for the said reasons the confiscation order cannot be sustained and is liable to be quashed,” the judge wrote while ordering the district magistrate to release the motorcycle.
The court said that transportation”of beef on a vehicle from a place to another in the state is neither prohibited nor regulated. “Thus, the foundation for confiscation on charge of transportation in violation of the provision of this Act is prima facie not established,” it said.