Weeks after the Kerala High Court upheld validity of a law prohibiting animal and bird sacrifice, an appeal filed against it in the Supreme Court has made the apex court seek the response of the state government in the matter. The Kerala High Court had upheld the constitutional validity of the state's law which prohibits animal or bird sacrifice for propitiating a deity.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices R Subhash Reddy and A S Bopanna, issued notice on the appeal filed by one P E Gopalakrishnan, claiming that animal sacrifice was an integral part of his religious practice.
The plea said the High Court order violates his fundamental right under Article 25(1) of the Constitution.
On June 16, the Kerala High Court dismissed the PIL challenging the validity of the Kerala Animals and Bird Sacrifices Prohibition Act on the ground that no material was brought on record to establish that the practice was essential to the religion.
The petitioners have contended before the High Court that provisions of Prevention of Cruelty Act, 1960, permit sacrifice for the purpose of religious practice.
The High Court had observed that Prevention of Cruelty Act does not have the word sacrifice for the purpose of religion.
In the appeal before the top court, the petitioner has contended that the High Court dismissed the PIL without considering the contentions raised in his application.
He argued that animal sacrifice is an integral practice of Shakthi' worship and due to the law, he was not able to make the offering.
The petitioner has further contended that the Act criminalises animal sacrifice to the exclusion of identical practices by other religious communities, without the same being based on any intelligible differentia.
"The impugned Act criminalises the intent behind the animal sacrifice, and not animal sacrifice per se. If the sacrifice is not for propitiating any deity but for personal consumption even in the precincts of a temple, it is not forbidden. This arbitrary classification is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India," the plea said.
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