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Supreme Court asks Centre to reply on plea to prevent cattle smuggling

PTI 24 Apr 2015, 21:02:47 PM IST

New Delhi:  "When you don't have people to be deployed for stopping infiltration of terrorists, how can we ask that they (forces) be deployed to stop smuggling of cows," the Supreme Court observed today while dealing with a PIL seeking direction to stop export and smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh.

The apex court, which initially expressed contraints over passing any direction, later agreed to tag the matter with another PIL in which it had passed an interim order on October 17, 2014 directing that there shall be no export of live cattle and buffaloes to Nepal on the eve of the festival Gandhi Mai Mela.

Earlier, during the proceedings, the court put a poser,"If BSF is asked to work for (stopping smuggling of) cows what about terrorists. Who will stop terrorists?".

A bench comprising Justices J S Khehar and S A Bobde decided to entertain the public interest litigation(PIL) filed by Akhil Bharat Krishi Goseva Sangh after senior advocate Soli J Sorabjee submitted that it is a matter of serious concern.

He along with advocate Manish Singhvi submitted that there have been depletion of indigenous livestock and there have been unabated and unbridled smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh throughIndian borders.

While they were making submissions, the bench asked how the court can act if the export of cows was carried out under licence.

"To succeed you have to show that the export of the cows is illegal," the bench said adding, "also when you take the cattle enmasse you have to show that they are being transported in a barbaric manner and not allowed with food and water".

After a brief hearing, the bench issued notice to Ministry of Home Affairs, Railways and States like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Assam, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka which have their own laws relating to cow slaughter and cow protection.

The petition said that there is rampant smuggling of live cattle across the border to Bangladesh, which has led to depletion of cattle wealth of this country.

"The smuggling of cattle across the border of Bangladesh has led to overall disruption of ecosystem and if the cattle wealth of country is depleted then it shall also have adverse impact on nutrition of populis including children in India," the PIL said.

The organisation, founded by Mahatma Gandhi and later on nurtured by Vinoba Bhave, in its PIL said due to various syndicates operating, the smuggling of cattle is unchecked and rampant on the porous borders of Bangladesh.

It said the factum of smuggling of cattle across Indo-Bangladesh border was also shared by the Centre with various state governments and the measures to tackle the problem do not commensurate with its magnitude.