Cow slaughter inside home not matter of public order: Allahabad HC quashes NSA against Muslim men

Photo: Sahid Faris/Maktoob

While quashing a detention order passed under the draconian National Security Act (NSA) against 3 Muslim men who have been accused of cutting small pieces of beef for selling purposes in a house in secrecy, The Allahabad High Court observed that the slaughtering a cow in the secrecy of one’s home is not a matter involving public order.

According to Live Law, three men were arrested in July 2020, after the Sitapur Police raided their house while they were cutting beef with the purpose of selling the meat.

“…the petitioners and co-accused were mutely arrested when they were found cutting beef in the wee hours of the morning in the house of the petitioners. We also do not know whether the cause was poverty, lack of employment or hunger, which may have compelled the petitioners and the other co-accused to take such a step,” observed the Bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Saroj Yadav.

The court also noted that the incident had taken place in the secrecy of the detenues’ house at 5.30 in the morning and it was a solitary incident of cutting cow beef in pieces away from the public eye.

Court went on to say: “an act of slaughtering a cow in the secrecy of one’s own house in the wee hours probably because of poverty or lack of employment or hunger, would perhaps only involve a law and order issue and could not be said to stand on the same footing as a situation where a number of cattle have been slaughtered outside in public view and the public transport of their flesh or an incident where an aggressive attack is made by the slaughterers against the complaining public, which may involve infractions of public order.”

Following the arrest in July, the superintendent of police and station house officer of Sitapur sought the detention of arrested Muslim youth Irfan, Parvez, and Rahamatullah under the NSA which was granted by the district court on August 14, 2020. The police officer also submitted to the district magistrate that the release of the accused on bail might cause disruption of public order. 

The public prosecutor also had submitted that the cow slaughtering incident had disturbed communal amity in the area as people from the Hindu community had gathered near the house of the accused.

“An atmosphere of fear and terror was generated, public order was disturbed and the crowd became belligerent,” he told the court.

The Muslim men then filed a petition seeking to quash the detention under NSA. “there was no need to direct their preventive detention merely on the basis of a solitary incident of cutting beef…in the secrecy of their home,” their lawyer submitted to the court.