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The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the 1994 Gujarat government order banning slaughter of bulls and bullocks over the age of 16 years.
A seven-judge constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice R C Lahoti set aside the judgement of the 1998 Gujarat High Court which termed it as unconstitutional.
SC upholds one-year sentence for cow slaughter
The High Court had held that the government order imposed unreasonable restrictions on the Fundamental Rights of some petitioners who were involved in the trade.
The apex court upheld the constitutional validity of the Gujarat government order in a six to one verdict.
The matter, which was heard by a five-judge bench earlier, had been referred to a seven-judge bench for the interpretation of provisions of the constitution, specially with regard to status of directive principles viz a viz Fundamental Rights as well as the effect of introduction of article 31(C) and 51(A).
Meanwhile Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images] termed the SC verdict as significant and said it would have an "impact on national life".
"Our Constitution provides for cow protection. Mahatma Gandhi [Images] also used to advocate it. But unfortunately it (ban on cow slaughter) was not done due to vote bank politics. The Gujarat Goverment had banned it and we are victorious today," Modi said.
He said the verdict was very significant for those who love the cow and believe in non-violence and it would have a major impact on our national life.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad also termed the apex court verdict as heartening for Hindus throughout the world.
"Cow and its progeny are the backbone of our economic, social and religious development," Parishad senior Vice-President Acharya Giriraj Kishore said.
He demanded that the centre and state governments immediately ban cow slaughter "as provided in the Constitution and as desired by the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi."
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