Pune: The apex court has in no way restricted gau rakshaks from taking action against cattle mafia in accordance to law, it has only mentioned about vigilantes who take the law into their hands, said Milind Ekbote, President of Akhil Bharat Krishi Goseva Sangh (ABKGS) at a press conference on Tuesday.
“People are not able to understand the order of court. Gau rakshaks are not doing anything wrong, it’s the vigilantes who are doing violence,” said Ekbote.
The press conference was held in the wake of the recent order passed by the Supreme Court on September 6, 2017 in the petition filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala in 2016.
The petition demanded declaration of cow protection groups illegal in wake of the rising number of violent attacks by them.
In the case related to Gopal Gandhi who was represented by Adv Indira Jaising.
The Supreme Court ruled as below: “When we are going to pass an ad interim order, Tushar Mehta, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the states of Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan submitted that these states will nominate a senior police officer of the police department as the nodal officer in each district, who shall ensure that these vigilantes do not take law unto themselves or behave in a manner that they are the law in themselves. If any kind of deviancy takes place, the said nodal officer shall take action and such vigilantes will be booked in accordance with law with quite promptitude.”
According to ABKGS, in a series of orders, the Mumbai High Court and Supreme Court have refused to grant any stay on activities of gau rakshaks as long as they don’t take the law into their own hands.
“The Congress, beef traders and butchers have conspired against gau rakshaks to give them a bad name. In Maharashtra, gau raskhaks have always acted according to the law and its our duty to hand over cattle mafia to the police,” added Ekbote.
According to ABKGS, two petitions were filed in the Mumbai High Court. One petition filed by Shadab Patel was disposed of with directions stating that the steps taken by the State government and police were adequate and correct.
The High Court refused to pass any orders restricting the work of the gau rakshaks.
In another matter an office order was passed by the traffic department of the Mumbai police directing that no vehicle carrying animals for sacrifice will be stopped. This was challenged by the petitioner Abrar Qureshi, a member of ABKGS. The police department issued an affidavit that there is no restriction on the police from taking cognisance of violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act or Animal Preservation Act.
An office-bearer of ABKGS said, “The role of the gau rakshak is of an informant. No one can take away that as it is an integral part of crime prevention. No court has passed an order putting a blanket ban on informants collecting information and passing it on to the police.”
When contacted, Mohammad Arif Choudhary, President of Jamiatul Quairesh Minority Association said, “I welcome the order of the Supreme Court and am hopeful that our police will act according to it and will take action against those who violate it. Everybody should work in the parlance of law.”