A Hyderabad high court judge on Friday declared the cow as a symbol of motherhood and "sacred national wealth", and suggested that killing or injuring the animal be made a non-bailable offence.
This is the second instance of a judicial officer seeking stringent punishment against those guilty of cow slaughter in the last fifteen days. On May 31, Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma of the Rajasthan high court had recommended life imprisonment for such offenders.
In this case, Justice B Siva Sankara Rao sought that Section 429 (mischief by maiming and killing cattle) of the Indian Penal Code be amended to make cow slaughter a non-bailable offence. He also wanted the Andhra Pradesh Prohibition of Cow Slaughter and Animals Preservation Act-1977 suitably amended to ensure that veterinary doctors who fraudulently certify healthy cattle as "old and suitable for slaughter" are punished.
The judge made these observations while dismissing an appeal by a cattle trader who wanted the Nalgonda police to return 63 cows and two bulls seized

from his residence at Kanchanapalli village in February.
The petitioner, Ramavath Hamuna, had earlier moved the trial court at Nalgonda against the police action. While Hamuna claimed that he had bought the cattle for rearing purposes, police said he meant to sell them to slaughterhouses during the Bakr Id festival.
Citing a Supreme Court order, Justice Rao said it was "not a fundamental right of Muslims to slaughter only healthy cows" during the festival. He then posted the case for further hearing on July 14.
Justice Rao claimed that a number of Mughal emperors - including Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Ahmad Shah - had prohibited cow slaughter for religious reasons. "So, it is time to strictly enforce the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act-1960, and ensure that stringent punishment is meted out to offenders," he said, adding that veterinary doctors should also be prosecuted if they are guilty of "driving cattle to slaughterhouses".
Muslim groups refused to react to the high court judge's observations.
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