New Delhi: The apex court on Monday denied to interfere with the religious practice of sacrificing animals to make gods and goddesses happy across the country on the plea that it amounted to cruelty to animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Declining to entertain the PIL by Varaaki, a Chennai-based journalist, a bench of Chief Justice HLK Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy said that how could it pass an order to prevent animal sacrifice when as a religious practice, it has the sanction of law.
The court said this as senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, appearing for Varaaki, told the court that when animals are slaughtered at slaughter houses, it is governed by rules and regulations and animals are slaughtered by trained people.
Ramachandran told the court that during religious practices, the animals are killed by untrained people causing unnecessary cruelty to them. He said that at times, animals are sacrificed during religious ceremonies in the presence of children.
However, Chief Justice Dattu noted that “The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act itself gives that right (of animal sacrifice as religious practice). Villagers will say that it is our religious practice for centuries to please gods and goddesses by such animal sacrifices”.
The court said that it had to “harmonize all faiths and religions”. “These are very very sensitive matters. We can’t be blind to centuries-old traditions being followed,” it said.
Allowing the PIL to be withdrawn, the court allowed Ramachandran to implead the petitioner as a party in the matter where the apex court is hearing a challenge to Himachal High Court order banning animal sacrifice as a religious practice.
Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past. Apart from various kinds of physical tortures, the mental tortures undergone by defenseless females are endless. Within the confinement of four-walls innumerable sins are still being committed which mostly go unreported. However, it was Nirbhaya’s rape incident in Delhi that was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India. Post-Nirbhaya incident, a lot many changes in the laws have been made. The safety and security of women have been prioritized, the nation-wide the whole police departments have been sensitized, to a greater extent the road transportation has been made women-friendly.
Thanks to the countless number of protests across the country condemning the six rapists. The people from all walks of life came together and relentlessly pressurized the government that the Nirbhaya convicts must be awarded capital punishment. Media’s contribution in the campaign is immeasurable. Alas, India’s judiciary is so annoyingly slow it has taken over 7 years to pronounce the death sentence.
However, now nothing could be so mind-blowing than the flood of condemnation against the comments by a veteran advocate and social activist Indira Jaising. Without a sense of guilt and potential backlash, she suggested that the convicts be “forgiven” by the parents. Jaising’s idea has clearly touched a raw nerve of the major population in the country. People’s anger is spilled well over social media. What is most noteworthy is the scathing condemnation directly from the horse mouth — the mother Asha Devi. A very bold lady, who determinedly fought for justice for so many years, thunders – “Who is Indira Jaising to give me such a suggestion? The whole country wants the convicts to be executed. Just because of people like her, justice is not done with rape victims,” Asha Devi aptly further adds — “Can’t believe how Jaising even dared to suggest such this; I met her many times over the years in Supreme Court, “not once” she asked for my well-being and today she is speaking for convicts. Such people earn a livelihood by supporting rapists; hence rape incidents don’t stop,”
The latter comments by the Nirbhaya’s mother clearly hint the doubt at the “integrity” of the advocate Ms. Jaising. How on earth that one who has not spoken a word of sympathy in spite of many encounters in the court can reserves the right to suggest that which offends the distressed victim party. Asha Devi deserves a salute for her boldness. Yes, India Jaising is one of the advocates who knocked the door of the Chief Justice of India in the middle of the night in July 2015 in order to seek the mercy for the dreaded terrorist Yakub Menon.
Again, here is another bombshell to drop which many of us may have forgotten. Can we ever “forgive” for the shocking proposal in 2015 by Delhi Government to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine? Who has approved such bizarre ideas and which leaders are responsible? What kind of lesson should the citizens take from this?
I think the public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night. They had used the iron-rod to inflict deep injuries upon the girl which is unspeakable, which is very unpardonable. So, given the increasing cases of rapes and subsequent inhumane cruelty and cold-blooded killings, Capital punishment can be the only answer and “one of the deterrents”. Before the divine retribution, the hard rod of punishment should not be spared at all.
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali