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MPS RAMANI (Scientist/Engineer)     03 May 2015

Ban on beef - is it constitutional?

Article 48 of the Constitution of India says 

The State shall endeavor to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves  and other milch and draught cattle.”

What is the connection between organizing agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and prohibiting the slaughter of milch and draught cattle?

Draught cattle are used to pull vehicles and plough the fields. When you modernize you will replace bullock carts with motor vehicles and use tractors for pulling the ploughs. So many other agricultural activities for which you use bullocks will also be replaced by machines. In 1950, when the Constitution came into force, the uses of machines in agriculture were almost nil. Now 17 to 18% of the energy requirements in agriculture have been replaced by power or other fuels like diesel. In due course the male calf will become redundant. What will you do with them? Actually modernization on scientific lines and ban on cow slaughter have a negative connection.

Though India is a large milk producer, pet capita milk consumption is less than that in many countries where cows are slaughtered for food.

Article 48 was introduced to protect Hindu sentiments through back-door in a secular Constitution. As it is illogical, the article should be deleted from the Constitution.

I am myself a born vegetarian and do not eat any kind of fish or meat. But I would not say that fishing and killing of all animals should be banned. You ban cow slaughter if you can ban all non-vegetarian food sources. Otherwise allow people to eat and drink what they want so long as they are not drugs.


 3 Replies

Sudhir Kumar (Retd Govt Officer)     03 May 2015

please move a consitutional amendment.

MPS RAMANI (Scientist/Engineer)     04 May 2015

Only parliament can amend the constitution. I am not even an MP.

Ananya Gosain   24 August 2021

Ban on cow slaughter as per my understanding may violate people’s rights guaranteed under Article 25, Article 21, Article 19 (g) of the Constitution. Let me explain how- 

  • Article 19(1) (g) guarantees freedom to practice or carry on any profession, trade, business, or occupation. The public has the right to choose employment, do trading, and business activity impose by the state for the public welfare but the state has been empowered with reasonable restrictions which should be just and in the favor of the general public.
  • Article 21 of the Indian constitution guarantees right to life and liberty except the procedure established by the law. If the parliament bans the slaughtering of cow, it will infringe the fundamental right of citizens to what to eat or restricts the consumption of food of their choice and their right to conserve their culture.
  • Further, if we invoke Clause 1 of Article 25 of the Constitution that entitles the right to practice, profess, propagate any religion of India, thereby submitting that the slaughtering of cattle on the occasion of Bakri Eid and every festival is a religious practice protected under the said clause. The slaughtering of cows on the occasion of Bakri Id is an essential religious practice under the said provision.
  • As a result of the total ban, people would not even be allowed to make the said sacrifice which is an essential practice, enjoined upon them by the Holy Quran, and practiced by all Muslims since time immemorial.
  • The case of Akhil Bhartiya Karma Chari Sangh v. Union of India contended that the reasonableness of restrictions imposed by the said sections needs to be examined independently.
  • While dealing with the issue of violation of fundamental rights the court needs to see whether or not the restrictions imposed are reasonable and also whether there is any existence of a compelling public interest.

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