March 4, 2024

Some cases in the records of legal history are important for their wider social repercussions in addition to their legal consequences. One such case that has drawn curiosity from both the public and legal professionals is “Mohd Hanif Qureshi vs. the State of Bihar.” This historical case presents complex legal issues as well as justice, human rights, as well as religious freedoms. 

Mohd Hanif Qureshi vs State of Bihar Case Summary

Mohd Hanif Qureshi vs State of Bihar Case Facts:

  • Themohd hanif qureshi vs state of bihar citation is 1958 AIR 731.
  • Members of the Muslim Qureshi Community who worked primarily as butchers were the petitioners. The petitioners’ occupation was one that they had practiced for generations as part of their tradition.
  • Their religion deems this to be true, and they essentially slaughter cattle to support their trade and way of life.
  • Considering the facts from a different angle, the majority religion in India is Hinduism, which regards cows as sacred animals because of the belief that they are blessed with the presence of God.
  • Animals are now regarded as necessary because they give humans milk and many other things, and because of this, humans have a moral obligation to be grateful to them.
  • The aforementioned fact forbids human slaughter of cattle since it is deemed immoral from a humanitarian standpoint.
  • In 1958, Mohd Hanif Qureshi petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming that the state of Bihar’s animal laws violated his fundamental rights by forbidding him from participating in the slaughter of cows.

Mohd Hanif Qureshi vs State of Bihar Case Issues:

  • Does preventing the petitioner from carrying out the cattle slaughter violate any fundamental rights?
  • Is it reasonable to forbid the killing of cows when considering the interests of the general public?
  • Contesting the constitutionality of the same prohibition based on local laws?

Contentions Raised by the Petitioner:

  • One of the fundamental rights granted to Indian citizens is the freedom of trade and occupation, as stated in Article 19 (1)(g) of the Indian Constitution, 1949. The petitioner is now free to carry out the cattle slaughter in accordance with the aforementioned right. It must be completely eradicated since prohibiting it eventually damages the petitioner’s trade and line of work.
  • The morality of a single community is taken into consideration in the ban on cow slaughter, which makes it unlawful and discriminatory, according to Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality, one of the fundamental rights.
  • Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the freedom to profess, practice, and propagate any religion one chooses. This right is considered fundamental, and it is also violated because the religion of the Muslim community has not been given due consideration in the prohibition of cattle slaughter.

Contentions Raised by the Respondent:

  • In response to the petitioner’s arguments, the state contended that the Court could not decide the constitutional dispute based solely on the opinions of the Hindu community.
  • In summary, no community is given preference, or the decision is upheld as discriminatory; rather, it is made unanimously with the goal of advancing the public welfare as a whole.

mohd hanif qureshi vs state of bihar judgment:

  • It is thesupreme court judgment on cow slaughter in India which was decided on 23rd April 1958.
  • It was decided by a judge bench comprising of Justice S.K. Das and Justice P.B. Gajendragadkar.
  • The SC ruled that a complete prohibition on cattle slaughter is not feasible because it would force beef butchers to stop trading in order to survive on a daily basis.
  • Therefore, Section 18 of the Act provides an exemption for that, stating that buffalo over the age of 13 may be killed upon certification from the appropriate authority.
  • The court emphasized the significance of limitations on Article 19(1)(g), noting that states are permitted to impose reasonable limitations on the public interest.
  • In addition, the court rejected the petitioners’ argument that cow sacrifice is a necessary religious rite on Bakr Id, citing the fact that many Muslims observe the holiday without performing a cow sacrifice.
  • The Court was alert enough to recognize the common sense of the numerous Mughal emperors, from Jehangir to Babar, who forbade the slaughter of cows. Since all of these emperors understood the value of cows in maintaining social harmony, it is now imperative that we do the same.

The Mohd Hanif Qureshi v. State of Bihar case serves as proof of how the judiciary in India can uphold fundamental principles even in the face of a complex multicultural environment. It acts as an indicator that pursuing the goals of justice and equality necessitates going on attentiveness and an unwavering dedication to the values outlined in the Constitution.

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