Kerala HC upholds law prohibiting animal sacrifice in temples

Kochi (Kerala) [India], June 20 (ANI): The Kerala High Court has upheld the constitutional validity of state legislation that prohibited the sacrifice of animals and birds in temples for the propitiation of deity.

A division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly on Friday upheld the constitutional validity of the Kerala Animals and Birds Sacrifices Prohibition Act, 1968 after considering a PIL moved by Muraleedharan T and Vimal CV.

"No material on record substantiates which community under the Hindu or other religion requires killing an animal, for propitiating, if not personal consumption, in the manner required in the religion. The expression used in Section 28 of the Central legislation is killing and not sacrifice and, therefore, the said provision is intended to protect the manner of killing by a particular community, but not for any religious purpose," the court noted.

"Bearing in mind all these aspects, we have no hesitation to hold that there is no repugnancy in the two laws. The constitutional validity of the Kerala Animals and Birds Sacrifices Prohibition Act, 1968 is upheld," it held.

The petition had sought to declare the legislation unconstitutional and discriminatory and direct the state government not to interfere with such religious practices.

The Central government has made an enactment removing the killing of animals for religious purposes from the ambit of offence as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the petitioner contended.

The high court said that sacrificing animals for propitiating the deity was considered by the Supreme Court in many judgments and it was held that such acts are not protected under Article 25 (freedom of religion) unless they are essentials of the religion.

The court also noted the petitioner's contention that other religions permit sacrifices and that there is discrimination, after which the counsel of the petitioner submitted that he is not pressing such an argument. (ANI)