The Rajasthan high court has asked the state government to coordinate with the Centre and take necessary steps to declare cow as a national animal. A single-judge bench of justice Mahesh Chand Sharma said the chief secretary and advocate general of the state will be the legal custodians of the cow.
"Nepal is a Hindu nation and has declared cow as national animal. India is a predominant agriculture country based in animal rearing. As per Article 48 and 51A (g) it is expected from the state government that they should take action to get a legal entity for cow in this country," he said in his order.
While Article 48 of the Constitution says the state should take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle, Article 51A (g) speaks of protecting natural environment and having compassion for living creatures.
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"It is expected from the government that it should declare cow as national animal and for this purpose the Chief Secretary and Advocate General of state are declared legal custodians of cow," the judge said in a 145-page order.
The direction was made while the court was hearing the Hingonia Gaushala matter. Over a hundred cows had perished at the government-run cowshed in Jaipur last year. The bench also granted liberty to any person or class of persons to approach court with a plea in a PIL to declare cow as a national animal.
The direction comes at a time when many states are protesting the government's decision to impose ban on the slaughter of cattle, primarily cows, for commercial purposes.