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Article 48 & “…. and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle!”

“…. and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle!”
The above clause in Article 48 has rendered all the English knowing people of India, excluding the legislators, English illiterates!

As it is the Directive Principles are not justiciable – which means that when one of those directives are not legislated upon, the Higher Courts wouldn’t have the Constitutional handle to drive the Legislature to legislate on that subject. Therefore it follows that if any legislature has cited any of the legislations to have been enacted with an object to give effect to the noble directions & sentiments enshrined in the Directive Principles of a state Policy, it may be a gratuitous act of that legislature. But remember, for ever remember dear Indians, that any Legislation has only three ends

1. Repeal

2. Struck down by the superior courts as unconstitutional

3. Desuetude

The first usually takes place when the legislature which enacted realises its mistake or the changed circumstances or in deference to a court order or even to preserve the majority of the government of the day.

The second happens when a challenge succeeds in a High Court or the Supreme Court regarding the unconstitutionality of the provisions which offend the Fundamental Rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

The third is merely a provision falling into DISUSE or at times when the courts have struck down, yet left behind in the statute as a relic of no enforceability.

What is in the hands of a common man is the Second option, which is fraught with not merely resistance from the Government which mooted the legislation, but the structural resistance built into the system.

The primary resistance comes from the doctrine that THERE IS A PRESUMPTION OF LEGALITY TO ANY LEGISLATION MADE INTO AN ACT! 
This has to be overcome and this has to be necessarily done in the higher judiciary, where thankfully, English is the language of the higher courts.

Then comes the meanings attributable to the language of the statute. 

Let me expose my ignorance of the language of the clause excerpted above:

The statute uses the word “prohibit“, which is the only verb in the clause, thereby stating in the narrowest of terms the SCOPE OF THE LEGISLATION relating to “slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”. Consequently I believe that any legislation which tries to REGULATE SLAUGHTER is not mandated by the Constitution of India.

Am I possibly right?

In the enormity of my ignorance I believe that since Article 48 deals with cattle and livestock it intends to proscribe, prevent through PROHIBITION ‘slaughter’, which again means the act of killing as a class, as regards animals, for consumption purposes.

The next point is prohibit slaughter of what? 

This is where the ingenuity has been utilised to smuggle in the will of the mooters of the bills, piloted in various States and assented to by the Governors and probably the President of India, if it had been reserved for his/her consideration.

The prohibition is clear:
“of cows and calves”. Why cows and calves? Why not bulls, oxen, buffaloes, heifers etc.? The answer lies in the succeeding part, which is “….and other milch and draught cattle.”

My understanding with the enormity of my ignorance impels me to believe that COWS & CALVES, which are common and known to all should help the reader understand the underlying principle: a cow not only calves ( verbal sense) and thereafter allows humans to appropriate their milk, it does the calving many times over within its lifetime and therefore entitled NOT TO BE TREATED like beef cattle. We humans should not be greedy enough to butcher even an animal which had been used for appropriating milk for nearly a decade.

Further, I am sure our Constituent Assembly, with its vast experience in understanding human sentiments and tendencies, did not want a ‘mother of many calves’ to be butchered for consumption, as that would be a heartless deed on a cow which had enabled many households extra income through sale of its calves and milk.

As regards the CALVES, man should not be allowed to eat an animal which is too young to be used for consumption, as that would indiscriminately eliminate the cow-calves also, merely on the grounds that there are medicinal benefits or tasty or nutritional benefits etc. Further, such slaughter of the young ones could lead to decline in cattle population. More than all these, I believe that no being, once born should be killed, before it reaches a certain age of maturity. Therefore the Constituent Assembly had named the Specie COW and applied the principle to ‘other’ MILCH & DRAUGHT CATTLE!

So the principle deducible is that similarly, any animal which provides MILK or is used for its work, like oxen and buffaloes, which had been used as draught animals should also NOT TO BE SLAUGHTERED! 

So the Article states that the specie COW and CALF and the genus which provide milk or helps man in his labour SHOULD NOT BE SLAUGHTERED. Period.
Instead of excluding these classes of cattle for consumption, when the legislature, in its pretended collective false understanding, enacts laws REGULATING SLAUGHTER, is primarily outside the ambit of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

Not including she goats and ewes, which have parturated multiple times, would be against the pith and substance of this principle.

When I am NOT a beef- eater, what locus-standi do I have?

One more resistance of the structure to overcome.
Let us get some education in English, at least the High Courts and the Supreme Courts would become temples of ideas and not the fortresses of ideologues!


The bill placed on the floor of the House of the Karnataka Legislature bans  sale & possession of “beef”within the state of Karnataka. The ostensible reason is giving effect to Article 48 of the Constitution of India, which falls within the head of Directive Principles of State Policy.

Article 48. Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry.—The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

Now this is the provision of the Constitution of India. Note the wordings “……..prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.” To the best of my understanding of this provision, slaughtering of COWS, CALVES and DRAUGHT CATTLE are to be prohibited as the Cows give milk which instead of nourishing its calf is appropriated by man, the calf is too young and the draught cattle have spent the best years in serving man in physical labour, this being the case of the cows, calves and draught cattle, it would be inhuman to further extract their meat for food. The reasoning seems humane and logical. However the state of Karnataka has chosen to BAN SLAUGHTER of all beef yielding animals, including buffalo (may be the Karnataka Legislature is colour neutral!)

What beats me is that in the neighbouring state of Kerala (Proposed KERALAM), beef is one of the staple food of the non-vegetarians from Central Kerala upwards, where there is a higher percentage of Christians and Muslims. As per the Wikipedia’s demographics of Karnataka, 83% of the population are Hindu, 11% are Muslim, 4% are Christian, 0.78% are Jains, 0.73% are Buddhist, and with the remainder belonging to other religions. Which means 15% of the population , by their religious belief need not subscribe to the prohibition of eating BEEF.  Yet ignoring the LIBERTIES  of the minorities, the Karnataka legislature seems to have passed the bill.

Further, this bill is being presented as an agenda of the strident Hindu organizations, ignoring the fact that the rural poor in the non-coastal areas have no better form of protein in their food except through beef.

Firstly, a reference made in the Non Justiciable Directive Principles of State Policy is mis-applied to the whole genus of cattle instead of confining the prohibition to milch cattle, draught cattle and the young ones.

Secondly, the Karnataka Legislature is trying to be more loyal than the states which have fewer  Muslim and Christian population like Madhya Pradesh, Chatisgarh and Rajasthan, and thereby subscribing to the ostensible prejudices of the bigoted religious persons, who are keen on enforcing their beliefs on others.

Thirdly, the minority opinion has been ignored and the bill has been bulldozed giving the go by to democratic modesty!

Hope some one takes up the issue with the High Court/ Supreme court and gets the ACT reviewed, in case the Governor gives his assent, which i think is very unlikely!

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