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Case Brief of Mohd. Hanif Quareshi v. State of Bihar, 1959

Mohd. Hanif Quareshi v. State of Bihar, 1959 SCR 629: AIR 1958 SC 731 

Facts of the Case

The challenge was to three laws banning the slaughter of certain animals, passed by the States of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

In Bihar, the Bihar Preservation and Improvement of Animals Act, 1956, was introduced which imposed a total ban on the slaughter of all categories of animals belonging to the species of bovine cattle. In Uttar Pradesh, the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955, was enacted which also imposed a total ban on the slaughter of cows and her progeny which included bulls, bullocks, heifers and cows.

In the State of Madhya Pradesh, it was the C.P and Berar Animal Preservation Act, 1949, which was amended and applied and it imposed a total ban on the slaughter of cows and female calf of a cow, while the male calf of a cow, bull, bullock, buffalo (male or female, adult or calf) could be slaughtered only on obtaining a certificate.


  • 1) The total ban offended the religion of the Muslims as the sacrifice of a cow on a particular day is enjoined or sanctioned by Islam;
  • 2) Such ban offended the fundamental right guaranteed to the kasais (butchers) under
    Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and was not a reasonable and valid restriction on their right; and
  • 3) A total ban was not in the interest of the general public.


  • 1)A total ban on the slaughter of cows of all ages and calves of cows and calves of she-buffaloes, male or female, was quite reasonable and valid and is in consonance with the directive principles laid down in Article 48;
  • 2) A total ban on the slaughter of she-buffaloes or breeding bulls or working bullocks (cattle as well as buffaloes) as long as they are capable of being used as milch or draught cattle was also reasonable and valid;
  • 3) A total ban on slaughter of she-buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle or buffalo) after they ceased to be capable of yielding milk or of breeding or working as draught animals could not be supported as reasonable in the interests of the general public, and was invalid.


It is pertinent to word that this 7-decide selection of the Supreme Court overruled the sooner 5-decide bench choices to the quantity that they’d dominated that a complete ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks can’t be made at the floor of Article 19(1)(g) examine with Article 19(6) of the Constitution. 

The 7-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that:

“In the light of the material available in abundance before us, there is no escape from the conclusion that the protection conferred by the impugned enactment on cow progeny is needed in the interest of the nation’s economy. Merely because it may cause “inconvenience” or some “dislocation” to the butchers, restriction imposed by the impugned enactment does not cease to be in the interest of the general public. The former must yield to the latter.”

The Supreme Court repelled all arguments at the grounds of essential rights below Article 14, Article 19(1)(g), etc., of the Constitution to mission the aforesaid general ban at the slaughter of cow and its progeny. The argument primarily based totally on faith or on essential proper below Article 25 of the Constitution turned into now no longer mentioned due to the fact that none of events attempted to construct its case on those grounds;

However, nevertheless the Court took observe of the above-stated observations of the 3-choose bench of the Supreme Court to the impact that “slaughtering of healthful cows on BakrI’d isn’t always crucial or required for non secular cause of Muslims” and the Court additionally made following observations: 

“…Slaughtering of cows on BakrI’d is neither essential to nor necessarily required as part of the religious ceremony. An optional religious practice is not covered by Article 25(1). On the contrary, it is common knowledge that the cow and its progeny i.e. bull, bullocks and calves are worshipped by Hindus on specified days during Diwali and other festivals like Makar Sankranti and Gopashtmi. A good number of temples are to be found where the statue of “Nandi” or “Bull” is regularly worshipped. …”.


Thus, the aforesaid evaluation of the provisions of the Constitution and numerous judgments of the Supreme Court, unequivocally suggests that even a complete ban at the slaughter of cow and its progeny is surely constitutional.

An overall ban on slaughter of cow and its progeny is absolutely permissible beneath neath the Constitution of India. Moreover, as stated above, many States / Union Territories in India have already banned cow slaughter both absolutely or partially; and such ban has been upheld with the aid of using the courts. So, Maharashtra isn’t always the primary or the simplest State to prohibit slaughter of cow and its progeny.

Thus, there does now no longer appear like some thing unlawful or unconstitutional within the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, which has been assented to with the aid of using the President of India, and which has now grow to be a regulation of the land for the State of Maharashtra.

As stated above, I even have constrained my evaluation simplest to the prison troubles and I even have favoured now no longer to answer to the spiritual troubles. If want be, at a later stage, I can also additionally respond to the ones different troubles as well, which I don’t suppose to be important at this stage.

At this stage, it suffices to mention that the constitutionality of the legal guidelines banning slaughter of cow and its progeny has been upheld with the aid of using the Supreme Court on secular grounds on the premise of the provisions current within the Constitution. Therefore, my humble request is to every person to desist from making hate speeches on spiritual grounds in this issue.