Reported By: Salil Tiwari
Last Updated: June 03, 2023, 02:40 IST
The Allahabad High Court recently granted bail to a man accused under the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1956. The court noted that there was nothing on record to show that the accused was involved in cow slaughter or selling or transporting beef.
“Mere possession of meat by itself cannot amount to committing, abetting, or attempting an offence under Section 3 of the Act No 1 of 1956,” said the bench of Justice Vikram D Chauhan.
In March, the Uttar Pradesh police raided a house in Pilibhit district’s Puranpur and seized 30.5 kg meat. Police apprehended the man, identified as Ibran alias Sheru, and another person and booked them under relevant sections of the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act.
Seeking relief, the man’s counsel argued before the high court that the accused was falsely implicated in the case. The accused was a painter and was only doing his job of painting the house when the raid took place, the counsel argued.
The counsel further submitted that there was no independent witness of the meat recovery and also the procedure for seizure as provided under the Criminal Procedure Code had not been followed.
The man’s counsel also contended that there was no allegation of slaughter against the accused and no report to show that the meat recovered was beef. Therefore, while stressing that there was no other evidence linking the accused to the alleged seizure, his counsel pressed for bail.
The government’s counsel argued that the Act had been enforced to prohibit and prevent slaughter of cows and their progeny in UP and, since the accused, was found to have committed an offence under it, he was not entitled to bail.
But the court noted that there was no material shown by the counsel for the state to suggest that the accused was selling or transporting or offering for sale or transport or cause to be sold or transported beef or beef products.
“…Mere carrying of meat by any person, by itself cannot amount to sale or transport of beef or beef products unless it is shown by cogent and sufficient evidence that the substance recovered is beef,” the court observed while stressing that there was no laboratory report to show that, in the present case, the seized meat was beef.
In view of the above, the court held that the accused was not guilty and, accordingly, granted him bail on furnishing a personal bond and two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court concerned.
“It is settled principle of law that the object of bail is to secure the attendance of the accused at the trial. No material particulars or circumstances suggestive of the applicant fleeing from justice or thwarting the course of justice or creating other troubles in the shape of repeating offences or intimidating witnesses and the like have been shown by learned AGA for the state,” the court observed.