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Every Cow and its Progeny to be given a Unique Identification Number (UIN): Supreme Court

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(Representative image) Cows on Maheshwar Ghats, Wikimedia
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New Delhi, April 24, 2017: The Supreme Court was informed on Monday that every cow and its progeny will be given a Unique Identification Number (UIN) and will be kept at shelter homes run by state governments in every district after they cease to give milk.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that each cow and its progeny across India would get a UIN so that their tracking could be done.

The UIN would record their details like age, breed, sex, lactation, height, body colour, horn type, tail switch and special marks, he said.

“The Union Agriculture Ministry has devised a tamper-proof identification of cattle using polyurethane tags with UIN.

“There will be a uniform law for the preservation and protection of cow in India as it will help in reducing grey areas and ensuring implementation in a better way,” the Solicitor General said seeking dismissal of the petition by the Akhil Bharat Krishi Goseva Sangh, since the court’s directions had been complied with.

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Kumar told the court that the polyurethane tags method had been recommended by a committee headed by a Joint Secretary-rank officer of the Home Ministry.

“…recommendations of the committee have been finalised and approved by the competent authority,” the government told the court.

The petitioner organisation had moved the top court seeking putting in place of a comprehensive plan for curbing the smuggling of animals, including unproductive cows, to Bangladesh, which has large beef processing units for export of beef.

The committee suggested that instead of dealing with the problem of smuggling at the Indo-Bangladesh border, it would be better to address it at the source itself.

It has recommended that states set up Kanji Houses/ Pinjrapoles with a minimum capacity of 500 cattle each in every district to ensure that rescued/ abandoned animals are adequately cared. Every Kanji house, the committee has recommended, may have a full time veterinary doctor and staff for its effective running and maintenance.

To check the smuggling of livestock across country’s border with Bangladesh, there should be strict enforcement of Export Import Policy (EXIM) by the Customs Department, state police, regional transport department and the Border Security Force (BSF), the panel suggested.

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It further recommended that enforcement agencies working on the Indo-Bangladesh border lay more emphasis on intelligence and information and for this, they could seek active support and co-operation from the public on the movement of animals.

The committee has also recommended that the penalty of Rs 50 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, be revised based on inflation correction since 1960 when the Act came into force. In the course of deliberation of the committee, it was felt that all the offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, should be made cognizable.

The Committee has noted that due to “economic inter-dependency” of large segment of population on both sides of the border, they develop propensity for smuggling, with illegal cattle trade forming a major part.

It has identified North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Malda, Nadia and Dakshin Dinajpur districts in West Bengal and Dhubri in Assam as the most cattle trade-prone areas.

It also identified high demand in Bangladesh and margin of profit as reasons for smuggling.

The committee has recommended prohibition on livestock market close to the international border.

The panel has suggested formation of a state-level data bank, which may be uploaded on website and linked with national online database.

It has also recommended appointing Registrar of Cattle in each state. (IANS)

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India Gets A Win, Supreme Court Decriminalizes Homosexuality

In December 2013, a Supreme Court bench said that it was for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC.

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SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

 In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalised homosexuality between consenting adults by declaring Section 377, the penal provision which criminalised gay sex, as “manifestly arbitrary”.

In separate but unanimous verdicts, a five-judge Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Rohinton Nariman, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra partially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as unconstitutional.

The bench said it is no longer an offence for LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community to engage in consensual sex between two adults in private.

Reading out the judgment, Chief Justice Misra said attitudes and mentality have to change to accept others’ identity and accept what they are, and not what they should be.

Homosexuality, India
LGBTIQ people have a right to live unshackled from the shadow.
Pixabay

“It is the constitutional and not social morality which will prevail,” said the court.

The verdict sparked celebrations in the LGBTIQ community across India even as the judgment was being read out. Many of the community members who had assembled outside the apex court jumped in joy and distributed sweets.

Chief Justice Misra said consensual sex between adults in a private space, which is not harmful to women or children, cannot be denied as it is a matter of individual choice.

Section 377 will not apply to consensual same-sex acts between homosexuals, heterosexuals, lesbians, the court said, clarifying that sexual act without consent and bestiality will continue to be an offence under section 377.

“An individual has full liberty over his or her body and his or her sexual orientation is a matter of one’s choice,” said the Chief Justice.

“Time to bid adieu to prejudicial perceptions deeply ingrained in social mindset. Time to empower LGBTIQ community against discrimination. They should be allowed to make their choices,” he added.

Homosexuality, India
In separate but unanimous verdicts, a five-judge Constitution Bench struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as unconstitutional. Pixabay

 

In a concurring judgement, Justice Nariman said homosexuality is “not a mental disorder or disease”.

He said the LGBTIQ community has an equal right to live with dignity and are entitled to equal protection of law. He directed the Centre to give wide publicity to this judgment to remove the stigma attached to homosexuality.

Justice Chandrachud said to deny the LGBTIQ community their right to sexual orientation is a denial of their citizenship and a violation of their privacy.

“They cannot be pushed into obscurity by an oppressive colonial legislation… Sexual minorities in India have lived in fear, hiding as second class citizens,” said Justice Chandrachud, adding “the state has no business to intrude on such matters”.

Justice Indu Malhotra said that history owes an apology to the LGBTIQ community for all that they have suffered on account of the ignorance of the majority about homosexuality.

“LGBTIQ people have a right to live unshackled from the shadow,” she said.

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The Supreme Court verdict, which overruled its own earlier judgment, assumes significance as in the earlier round of litigation in 2013, the top court had reversed a Delhi High Court ruling decriminalising homosexuality.

The Delhi High Court bench, headed by then Chief Justice A.P. Shah, had in July 2009 legalised homosexual acts between consenting adults by overturning the 149-year-old law — finding it unconstitutional and a hurdle in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In December 2013, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya in the Suresh Kumar Koushal and another vs Naz Foundation and others case, had set aside the high court’s judgment and said that it was for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC.

The matter was subsequently resurrected in July 2016, when a fresh petition was filed by members of the LGBTIQ community — dancer N.S. Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur — which was then marked to the Constitution Bench by a Division Bench.

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The reference was made on the basis of submission that it was the first time that individuals directly affected by the provision were approaching the court.

Among the petitioners are a batch of current and former students of Indian Institutes of Technology. Claiming to represent more than 350 LGBTIQ alumni, students, staff and faculty from the IITs, the petitioners said that the existence of Section 377 had caused them “mental trauma and illnesses, such as clinical depression and anxiety and relegated some of them to second-class citizenship”. (IANS)