Allahabad High Court

Allahabad High Court: In an application filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’) to quash the charge sheet as well as entire proceeding of a case under Section 3 read with Sections 5 and 8 of Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955 (‘Act of 1955’), Shamim Ahmed, J. said that it does not appear that no offence has been made out against the accused, thus it refused to quash the charge sheet as well as entire proceeding of case under Act of 1955. It also said that it hopes and trusts that the Central Government may take appropriate decision to ban cow slaughtering in the country and to declare cows as ‘protected national animal’.

In the case at hand, a FIR was lodged with the allegation that the accused was involved in cow slaughtering, and he was going to Lucknow to sell the same.

The accused submitted that there is no chemical analysis report from the veterinary doctor whether seized meat belongs to cow progeny, and in the absence of any chemical analysis report, the Investigating Officer submitted charge sheet against the accused, whereupon the Magistrate has also taken cognizance and summoned the accused for facing trial.

The State contended that the charge sheet was rightly submitted by the Investigating officer and the cognizance taken by the Magistrate is also in accordance with law. The name of accused came into light in the confessional statement of co-accused, who was arrested along with the cow meat, who confessed that he and the accused were involved in slaughtering of cow, therefore, prima facie offence under the Act, 1955 is made out against him.

The Court examined Sections 3, 5 and 8 of the Act, 1955, and said that the contention of the accused that no offence against him is disclosed and the prosecution has been instituted with a malafide intention for the purposes of harassment, has no force.

The Court said that we are living in a secular country and must have respect for all religions. In Hinduism, the belief and faith are that cows are representative of divine and natural beneficence and should therefore be protected and venerated. The cow has also been associated with various deities. The cow is the most sacred of all the animals of Hinduism.

Further, it said that in the late 19th and 20th century, in India, a movement to protect cows arose that strove to unify the citizens by demanding that the Government should ban cow slaughter with immediate effect in the country.

Moreover, the Court said that for quashing of the proceedings at the initial stage, the test to be applied by the Court is to whether uncontroverted allegation as made prima facie establishes the offence and the chance of ultimate conviction is bleak, and no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing criminal proceedings to continue.

Placing reliance on S.W. Palankattkar v. State of Bihar, (2002) 44 ACC 168, wherein it was held that “quashing of the criminal proceedings is an exception than a rule”, it said that the interference at the threshold of quashing of the charge sheet/criminal proceedings cannot be said to be exceptional, as it discloses prima facie commission of an offence. Thus, it refused the prayer of the accused.

[Mohd. Abdul Khaliq v State of U.P, 2023 SCC OnLine All 79, decided on 14-02-2023]

Order by: Justice Shamim Ahmed

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Counsel for Applicant: Advocate Akhtar Jahan, Advocate Bahar Ali;

Counsel for Opposite Party: Government Advocate.

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