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Sunday, February 3, 2013

under Sections 279 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short “IPC”), Sections 184, 177 and 192 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (in short “M.V. Act”), Sections 5, 6, 8 and 10 of the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as “the Principal Act”) and Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.- ‘buffalo calf’ has not been mentioned as prohibited animal. Sub- section 1A of Section 5 stipulates the schedule of animals which are as under: (a) a cow; (b) the calf of a cow, whether male or female and if male, whether castrated or not; (c) a bull; (d) a bullock. It is clear from the above description of animals that the buffalo calf does not fall under the list of prohibited animals. It is true that Section 5(1) prohibits slaughtering of any animal without a certificate in writing from the Competent Authority that the animal is fit for slaughter. In other words, without a certificate from competent authority, no animal could be slaughtered. Sub-section (1A) to Section 5 mandates that no certificate under sub-section (1) shall be granted in respect of the above mentioned animals. In the said section, admittedly, ‘buffalo calf’ has not been mentioned as prohibited animal. In such circumstance, the prohibition relating to release of vehicle before a period of six months as mentioned in Section 6B(3) of the Amendment Act is not applicable since the appellant was transporting 28 buffalo calves only. In view of the same, it is not advisable to keep the seized vehicle in the police station in open condition which is prone to natural decay on account of weather conditions. In addition to the above interpretation, whatever be the situation, it is of no use to keep the seized vehicle in the police station for a long period. 13) In the light of the above conclusion, order dated 24.08.2012, passed by the Judicial Magistrate, Gandhinagar in Criminal Misc. Application No. 9 of 2012, order dated 01.09.2012, passed by the District and Sessions Judge, Gandhinagar in Criminal Revision Application No. 73 of 2012 and order dated 25.09.2012, passed by the High Court in Special Criminal Application No. 2755 of 2012 are set aside and the respondents are directed to release the vehicle - Eicher Truck bearing Regn. No. GJ-9-Z-3801 forthwith. 14) The appeal is allowed.


                                     REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                  1 CRIMINAL APPEAL No.  219        OF 2013

               (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 8971 of 2012)


Multani Hanifbhai Kalubhai                            .... Appellant(s)

            Versus

State of Gujarat & Anr.                                   ....
Respondent(s)


                                      2



                               J U D G M E N T


P.Sathasivam,J.

1)    Leave granted.
2)     This  appeal  is  directed  against  the  judgment  and  order  dated
25.09.2012 passed by the High Court  of  Gujarat  at  Ahmedabad  in  Special
Criminal Application No. 2755 of 2012 whereby the High Court  dismissed  the
application filed by the appellant herein.
3)   Brief facts:
a)    The vehicle of the appellant, Eicher Truck, was seized by the  police,
which  was  found  to  be  transporting  28  buffalo  calves.  
The   First
Information Report (in short “FIR”) was registered against the appellant  on
02.08.2012 for the offences punishable under Sections 279  and  114  of  the
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short “IPC”), Sections 184, 177 and 192  of  the
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (in short “M.V. Act”), Sections 5, 6, 8 and  10  of
the Gujarat Animal Preservation  Act, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as  “the
Principal Act”) and Section 11 of the   Prevention  of  Cruelty  to  Animals
Act, 1960.
b)    The appellant filed an application being  Criminal  Misc.  Application
No. 9 of 2012 under Section 451 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973  (in
short “the Code”) for the release of his Eicher truck  before  the  Judicial
Magistrate,  First  Class,   Gandhinagar,   Gujarat.    Vide   order   dated
24.08.2012, the Judicial Magistrate rejected the  said  application  on  the
ground that as per the provisions of Section 6B(3)  of  the  Gujarat  Animal
Preservation  (Amendment)  Act,  2011  (hereinafter  referred  to  as   “the
Amendment Act”), the vehicle shall not be released  before  the   expiry  of
six months from the date of its seizure.
c)    Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant filed an application  being
Criminal Revision Application No. 73 of 2012 before the District &  Sessions
Judge, Gandhinagar, which was also rejected on 01.09.2012
d)    Dissatisfied  with  the  order  of  the  District  &  Sessions  Judge,
Gandhinagar, the appellant preferred Special Criminal Application  No.  2755
of 2012 before the High Court.  By  impugned  order  dated  25.09.2012,  the
High Court dismissed the said application.
e)    Challenging the said order, the appellant has  filed  this  appeal  by
way of special leave.
4)    Heard Mr. O.P. Bhadani, learned counsel  for  the  appellant  and  Mr.
Shomik Sanjanwala, learned counsel for the respondents.
5)    The only point for consideration in this appeal is whether the  Courts
below are justified in rejecting the prayer of  the  appellant  as  per  the
provisions of the amended Act?
6)    The Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954 (in short “the Bombay  Act”),
which was enacted for  the  preservation  of  animals  suitable  for  milch,
breeding or for agricultural purposes was made applicable to  the  State  of
Gujarat.  The following provisions of the said  Act  are  relevant  for  the
case in hand:
      “Section 5 - Prohibition against slaughter  without  certificate  from
      Competent Authority. (1) Notwithstanding any law for the time being in
      force or any usage to the contrary, no person shall slaughter or cause
      to be slaughtered any animal unless, he has  obtained  in  respect  of
      such animal a certificate in  writing  from  the  Competent  Authority
      appointed for the area that the animal is fit for slaughter.
      (1A) No certificate under sub-section (1) shall be granted in  respect
      of—


      (a)   a cow;
      (b)   the calf of a cow, whether male or female and if  male,  whether
           castrated or not;
      (c)   a bull;
      (d)   a bullock;


      (2)   In respect of an animal  to  which  sub-section  (IA)  does  not
      apply, no certificate shall be granted under sub-section (1) if in the
      opinion of the Competent Authority-


      (a)   the animal, whether male or  female,  is  useful  or  likely  to
           become useful  for  the  purpose  of  draught  or  any  kind  of
           agricultural operations;


      (b)   the animal if male, is useful or likely to become useful for the
           purpose of breeding;
      (c)   the animal, if female, is useful or likely to become useful  for
           the purpose of giving milk or bearing offspring.


      (3) Nothing in this section shall apply to—


      (a)   the slaughter of any of the following animals for such bona fide
           religious purposes, as may be prescribed, namely :--


      (i)   any animal above the age of fifteen years other than a cow, bull
           or bullock.


      (ii)  a bull above the age of fifteen years
      (iii) a bullock above the age of fifteen years.


      (b)   the slaughter of any animal not being a cow or a calf of a  cow,
           bull or bullock, on such religious days as may be prescribed :
      Provided that a certificate in writing for the slaughter  referred  to
      in clause (a) or (b) has been obtained from the competent authority.


      (4) The  State  Government  may,  at  any  time  for  the  purpose  of
      satisfying itself as to the legality or propriety of any order  passed
      by a Competent Authority granting or refusing to grant any certificate
      under this section, call for and examine the records of the  case  and
      may pass such order in reference thereto as it thinks fit.


      (5) A certificate under this section shall be granted in such form and
      on payment of such fee as may be prescribed.


      (6) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (4) any order  passed  by
      the Competent Authority granting or refusing to grant  a  certificate,
      and any order passed by the State  Government  under  sub-section  (4)
      shall be final and shall not be called in question in any Court.”

      In the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act, 1954,  after  Section  6,  the
following new sections were inserted:-
      “6A. (1) No person shall transport or offer for transport or cause  to
      be transported any animal specified in sub-section (1A) of  section  5
      from any place within the State to any another place within the  State
      for the purpose of its slaughter in contravention of the provisions of
      this Act or with the knowledge that it will be or is likely to  be  so
      slaughtered:
            Provided that a person shall be deemed to be  transporting  such
      animal for the purpose of slaughter unless contrary is proved  thereto
      to the satisfaction of the concerned  authority  or  officer  by  such
      person  or  he  has  obtained  a  permit  under  sub-section  (2)  for
      transporting animal for bona fide  agricultural  or  animal  husbandry
      purpose from such authority or officer as  the  State  Government  may
      appoint in this behalf.


     2) (a) A person may make an application in the prescribed form to  the
        authority or officer referred to in sub-section (1)  for  grant  of
        permit in writing for transportation of any animal specified in sub-
        section (1A) of section 5 from any place within the  State  to  any
        another place within the State.


        (b)      If, on receipt  of  any  such  application  for  grant  of
        permit, such authority is of the opinion that grant of permit shall
        not be detrimental to the object of the Act, it may grant permit in
        such form and on payment of such  fee  as  may  be  prescribed  and
        subject to such conditions  as  it  may  think  fit  to  impose  in
        accordance with such rules as may be prescribed.


     3) Whenever any person transports  or  causes  to  be  transported  in
        contravention of  provisions  of  sub-section  (1)  any  animal  as
        specified in sub-section (1A) of section 5,  such  vehicle  or  any
        conveyance used in transporting such animal along with such  animal
        shall be liable to be seized by such authority or  officer  as  the
        State Government may appoint in this behalf.


     4) The vehicle or conveyance so seized under sub-section (3) shall not
        be released by the order of the court  on  bond  or  surety  before
        expiry of six months from the date of  such  seizure  or  till  the
        final judgment or the court, whichever is earlier.


      6B.  (1)  No person shall directly or indirectly  sell,  keep,  store,
      transport, offer or expose for sell or bury beef or beef  products  in
      any form.


     2) Whenever any person transports or causes to be transported the beef
        or  beef  products,  such  vehicle  or  any  conveyance   used   in
        transporting such beef or beef products along  with  such  beef  or
        beef products shall be liable to be seized  by  such  authority  or
        officer as the State Government may appoint in this behalf.


      (3)   The vehicle or conveyance so seized under sub-section (2)  shall
        not be released by the order of the court on bond or surety  before
        the expiry of six months from the date of such seizure or till  the
        final judgment of the court, whichever is earlier.


      Explanation – For the purpose of this section “beef”  means  flesh  of
      any animal specified in sub-section (1A) of section 5, in any form.”

7)    Learned counsel for the appellant submitted  that  the  provisions  of
the Amended Act clearly mention the applicability of Section  6A(3)  to  the
class of animals as given in Section 5 (1A)  of  the  Principal  Act,  viz.,
cow, the calf of a cow, bull and  bullock,  however,  this  section  nowhere
mentions ‘buffalo calves’ which have  been  found  in  the  seized  vehicle.
According to him, in the absence of  prohibited  categories  of  animals  as
aforesaid, invoking of Section 6B(3) for not releasing the  vehicle  of  the
appellant before the expiry of six months from the date of  seizure  is  not
sustainable in law.
8)    In context of the above, it is relevant to note  that  on  12.10.2011,
an amendment was brought in the Principal Act which was called  the  Gujarat
Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2011.   By  virtue  of  this  Amendment
Act, a new Section 6A was brought in the Principal  Act.   We  have  already
extracted Section 6A of the Amended Act.
9)    Sub-section (3) of Section 6A  of  the  Amended  Act  stipulates  that
whenever any person  transports  in  contravention  of  provisions  of  Sub-
section (1), any animal as specified in Section 5(1A), such vehicle  or  any
conveyance used in transporting such animal, shall be liable  to  be  seized
by the authority/officer concerned.  It is brought to our  notice  that  the
vehicle which has been impounded by the respondents  was  not  carrying  the
category of animals which has been  laid  down  under  Section  5(1A).   The
vehicle in question was transporting the ‘buffalo calves’.
10)   A perusal of the FIR shows that  one  Sajidkhan  Pirmohemmed  Multani,
driver of the vehicle and Rajubhai Kalubhai Multani had  been  passing  from
Sector 30 of Gandhinagar, Gujarat.   The  police  tried  to  stop  the  said
vehicle but when they did not stop, they followed and intercepted the  same.
 On search being made inside the vehicle,  they  found  28  buffalo  calves.
Respondent No.2 herein arrested both the persons  and  seized  Eicher  Truck
bearing Registration No. GJ-9-Z-3801, which is the vehicle in question.
11)   The courts below rejected the application filed by the  appellant  for
release of the vehicle under Section 451 of the Code on the ground  that  as
per the provisions of Section 6B(3) of the Amendment  Act,  the  vehicle  of
the appellant shall not be released before the expiry  of  six  months  from
the date of its seizure.  On going through the relevant provisions,  we  are
of the view that the Courts below including the High Court grossly erred  by
overlooking the correct position of law as stated in  Section  6A(3).
  Sub-
section 1A of Section 5 stipulates the schedule  of  animals  which  are  as
under:
(a)   a cow;
(b)   the calf of a cow,  whether  male  or  female  and  if  male,  whether
      castrated or not;
(c)   a bull;
(d)   a bullock.

It is clear from the above description of  animals  that  the  buffalo  calf
does not fall under the list of prohibited animals.
 We have  already  noted
and it is not in dispute that  the  vehicle  in  question  was  carrying  28
buffalo calves.  Thus, Section 6B(3) of the Amendment Act cannot be  invoked
in order to deny the claim of release of the vehicle before  the  expiry  of
six months from the date of its seizure.
12)   It is true that Section 5(1)  prohibits  slaughtering  of  any  animal without a certificate in writing  from  the  Competent  Authority  that  the animal is fit for slaughter.  In other words,  without  a  certificate  from competent authority, no animal could be slaughtered.   Sub-section  (1A)  to Section 5 mandates that  no  certificate  under  sub-section  (1)  shall  be granted in respect of the above mentioned  animals.   In  the  said  section,
admittedly, ‘buffalo calf’ has not been mentioned as prohibited animal.   
In such circumstance, 
the prohibition relating to release of vehicle  before  a
period of six months as mentioned in Section 6B(3) of the Amendment  Act  is not applicable since the appellant was transporting 28 buffalo calves  only.
 In view of the same, it is not advisable to keep the seized vehicle in  the police station in open condition which is prone to natural decay on  account of weather conditions.  In addition to the  above  interpretation,  whatever be the situation, it is of no use to keep the seized vehicle in  the  police station for a long period.

13)   In the light of the above conclusion, order dated  24.08.2012,  passed
by the Judicial Magistrate, Gandhinagar in Criminal Misc. Application No.  9
of 2012, order dated 01.09.2012, passed by the District and Sessions  Judge,
Gandhinagar in Criminal Revision Application No. 73 of 2012 and order  dated
25.09.2012, passed by the High Court in  Special  Criminal  Application  No.
2755 of 2012 are set aside and the respondents are directed to  release  the
vehicle -  Eicher Truck bearing Regn. No. GJ-9-Z-3801 forthwith.
14)   The appeal is allowed.



                                  ………….…………………………J.


                                       (P. SATHASIVAM)










                                    ………….…………………………J.


                                      (JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR)


 NEW DELHI;
FEBRUARY 01, 2013.

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