Thursday, February 9, 2023

Allahabad High Court rejects plea to release truck seized with cows

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The Allahabad High Court rejected an application saying unsafe transport can endanger the life of a cow and doing so is an offence under Section 5B of the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act.

A single-judge bench of Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery passed this order while hearing an application under section 482 filed by Mohd Yasir.

The applicant is the owner of a truck which was carrying cow progeny and was intercepted and accordingly, a case was registered being case crime under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 IPC and 3/5-A/5-B/8 of UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955.

During investigation, it was found that the owner of the confiscated vehicle was the applicant and accordingly, proceedings were initiated against him under Section 5A read with Section 5B of Act of 1955. In these circumstances, the applicant has approached the Court of District Magistrate to release the truck.

The said truck was on the road with a fake registration number plate, however, the actual registration number of the vehicle was owned by the applicant.

The application for release of truck was dismissed by District Magistrate, Chandauli by impugned order dated 18.11.2021 on the ground that the vehicle owner failed to take reasonable steps to avoid illegal use of his vehicle.

Ashok Kumar Yadav, the counsel for the applicant, submitted that he is the owner of vehicle and the driver of vehicle has misused his permission and he was not directly involved in the offence and he placed reliance upon a judgment passed by the coordinate Bench of the Court in the cases of Kailash Yadav and others vs State of UP and another, that mere transportation of cow, bull or bullock from one place to another within Uttar Pradesh or carrying them on foot cannot amount to attempt of slaughtering and this act at the most can be considered to be the preparation of slaughtering which is not punishable under Act of 1955.

The Court observed,

However, while relying upon Kailash Yadav (supra), the coordinate Bench has missed that Section 5B was introduced in the Act by way of Amendment No 20 of 2020 i.e after the judgment was passed in Kailash Yadav (supra) and therefore the coordinate Bench have not considered the ingredients of Section 5B and simply followed Kailash Yadav (supra).

Considering the above provision, the proceedings initiated against the applicant under Section 5A (7) which provides as under are legally correct :-

“5A. Regulation on transport of cows, etc.

The vehicle by which the beef or cow and its progeny is transported in violation of the provisions of this Act and the relevant rules, shall be confiscated and seized by the law enforcement officers. The concerned District Magistrate/Commissioner of Police will do all proceedings of confiscation and release, as the case may be.”

Therefore, the observations of the coordinate Bench that Section 5A of Act of 1955 shall not operate as a bar as against the result of vehicle seized under Section 5A of Act of 1955 is incorrect due to amendment whereby Section 5B was inserted.

“In view of above, no case is made out for interference and the vehicle of applicant was used for the purpose of committing offence under Section 5-A and 5-B also, therefore, the proceedings initiated against the applicant under Section 5A (7) are legally correct as it provides transportation of beef or cow and its progeny in violation of provisions of the Act (i.e. violation of provisions of Section 5B also) whereby proceedings of confiscation and release can be undertaken as well are there are serious allegations that truck was playing with forged number plate and cow progeny was transported to West Bengal via Bihar for their slaughtering and progeny was found in bad conditions endangering the life thereof and, therefore, no interference is required in the impugned order passed by Magistrate as also passed in the revision petition by Sessions Judge,” the Court observed while rejecting the application.

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