Vidhikarya Logo
Callback Request
Call Back Request
Track Your Request
Track Your Request
+91-7604047602 Legal Blog For Students Free Legal Advice Lawyer Login

Article 48 of the Constitution

Article 48 of the Constitution

Article 48 of the Constitution lays down that “The State shall endeavor to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”. The existence of such a provision has always been controversial and debated upon as many believe that it goes against the secular nature of the Constitution and to fully understand what this article mean we must look at history and how it has been interpreted by the Courts, what the actual intention behind this Constitutional provision was and how it has evolved.

On examining the Constitutional assembly debates, we find that the arguments made for this provision to be included in the Constitution were on economic ground and were also substantiated through religious claims. Though the petitioners asking for this amendment wanted it to be fundamental right but could not go through with it as they only apply to human beings and not animals. It was subsequently framed as a Directive Principle of State Policy and was left for the executive to act upon according to the political situation of the country. It should be noted that the Agriculture and maintenance of stock as a subject comes under the State list in the Seventh Schedule in the Constitution so the power to frame laws reside only with State government.

The Supreme Court in 1958 in the Mohd. Hanif Qureshi v. State of Bihar (1958 AIR 731) case ruled that ban on slaughter of cows and calves is justified only till they are of milk producing age and ban on slaughter of bull or bullock is justified only till they can used for draught purposes.

In 1996, the Supreme court in Hasmattullah vs State Of Madhya Pradesh And Others (AIR 1996 SC 2076), ruled that a bull or bullock older than 16 years cannot be used for draught, agricultural or breeding purpose so it is unjustified to ban the slaughter and it violate the right to trade and profession.

In 2005, The Supreme Court in State of Gujarat Vs. Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab Jamat and Others ((2005) 8 SCC 534) stated that the use of the words ‘milch’ and ‘draught’ in the provision were used to denote what the cattle is used for and not their age and banned the slaughter. The Supreme Court also stated that even when the cattle start to get old, it is wrong to deem them useless as they could still be used for production of manure, biogas, and fuel.

Now the question is how far is the article 48 of the Constitution practicable?

The Union Government does not have power to enact laws in accordance with Article 48 as the agriculture and the “preservation, protection and improvement of stock” comes under the State List under the Seventh Schedule in the Constitution. The State government can make laws and each state has their own approach to regulate the conditions for the slaughter of cattle. Some states allow the slaughter of every type of cattle while some ban the slaughter of cows but allow the slaughter of bulls, bullocks, buffalo, etc after getting a “fit-for-slaughter” certificate.

A total ban on cattle slaughter will have huge economic ramifications as it will lead to a decline of a large part of the meat processing and export industry and other industries such as tanning and curing leather and curtail supply to leather goods industry. It will also leave thousands of people jobless and business destroyed, most of which will be Muslims and Dalits which will only add onto their insecurity and vulnerability.

The ban will lead the customers of buffalo meat which is one of the most inexpensive meat available to shift to different kind of meat which would increase its price. The prices of milk would also go up as the farmer would now have to take care and feed unproductive animals until they are of old age.

According to economist Vikas Rawal, the fodder and water available in the country right now would not be enough to feed the cattle due to the population growth after the ban. The Animal Husbandry budget required after the ban would even exceed the defence budget right now.

Use and Importance

Indian economy mainly depends on agriculture so the Article 48 can be used to face the fears of drought, crop failure and unemployment. Cows and other animals were included in this article as the best alternative available in case of a drought or crop failure would be dairy farming. The value of dairy products will be immense in case of paucity of food as exporting of these products would return considerable profit. Hence the power to make laws according the Article 48 lies with the state to ban the slaughter as and when necessary and required according to their own State’s agricultural situation.

To conclude, it is important to note that a total ban on cow slaughter all over the country will not be feasible as there are huge economic implications of such a ban as it will lead to large number of job loss. It should also be noted that India is a very diverse country where people have different food and eating habits in different states. To enforce such kind of ban should be made keeping in mind these eating habits as it is important to maintain the concept of “unity in diversity”. Such a ban should only be made when it is necessary for the economy and the agricultural situation of the state.

Posted On : June 26, 2020

Written By :

Recommended Free Legal Advices
question markRestriction regarding pet dogs in govt. quaters in residential school.
As per the Animal Welfare Board of India's guidelines on Street and Pet dogs no residential association can ban the keeping of pets/dogs in a residential flat or apartments and they cannot make such rules to ban pets. It is also important that the pet keepers will have to follow certain rules to ensure other's safety and peace.
question markIs any organisation have authority to prohibits pets in govt. quarters such as central govt.
Hi, Pets are allowed in almost all the government quarters and the only condition is that you have to take care of that without letting it cause any disturbance for others. You have the complete responsibility. Please rate my answer Thank You
question markGave a two months female puppy. My question is there any legal way to take the puppy back?
If there is no paper work done in that respect and all the medical vaccination reports, certificates etc of the puppy low with you I don't think there should be a problem legally. But as much as I am aware emotionally puppies become attached to the people with whom they are used to live for certain time so psychologically this might disturb the puppy she will have to again adjust in new atmosphere so you just think as seven months is a long time from perspective of a dog. Anyhow you may go ahead if you have a good reason to do so for the betterment of your puppy but it would be better if you claim you puppy back with amicable solution as much possible. Thank you. If you have found the answer helpful than please provide review and give***** as appreciation.
question markDog permission in government quarter
Hi, Yes it should be allowed. There is no law which debars keeping pet in the private space. You do not need a permission to keep a dog in the closed quarter, as it would be your private space, until you are in possession of the quarter. If you like my answer, please rate me.
question markGovt officials on duty booked u/s 9/51 of Wild Life Protection Act, 1972
Regardless of under whose order he has acted he has committed the crime under the Section 9 and 51 of Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 and hence there will be case against him and he will be tried as per the law. In fact not only him but also his superior who ordered him to so should also be called for trial. Section 9 in The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 1[9. Prohibition of hunting.—No person shall hunt any wild animal specified in Schedules I, II, III and IV except as provided under section 11 and section 12.] Section 51 in The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 51. Penalties.— (1) Any person who 1[contravenes any provision of this Act 2[(except Chapter VA and section 38J)] or any rule or order made thereunder or who commits a breach of any of the conditions of any licence or permit granted under this Act, shall be guilty of an offence against this Act, and shall, on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3[three years] or with fine which may extend to 4[twenty-five thousand rupees] or with both: 5[Provided that where the offence committed is in relation to any animal specified in Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II or meat of any such animal or animal article, trophy or uncured trophy derived from such animal or where the offence relates to hunting in a sanctuary or a National Park or altering the boundaries of a sanctuary or a National Park, such offence shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but may extend to seven years and also with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees: Provided further that in the case of a second or subsequent offence of the nature mentioned in this sub-section, the term of imprisonment shall not be less than three years but may extend to seven years and also with fine which shall not be less than twenty-five thousand rupees.] 6[(1A) Any person who contravenes any provisions of Chapter VA, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 7[three years] but which may extend to seven years and also with fine which shall not be less than 8[ten thousand rupees].] 9[(1B) Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 38J shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both: Provided that in the case of a second or subsequent offence the term of imprisonment may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees.] 10[(1C) Any person, who commits an offence in relation to the core area of a tiger reserve or where the offence relate to hunting in the tiger reserve or altering the boundaries of the tiger reserve, such offence shall be punishable on first conviction with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but may extend to seven years, and also with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but may extend to two lakh rupees; and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years and also with fine which shall not be less than five lakh rupees but may extend to fifty lakh rupees. (1D) Whoever abets any offence punishable under sub-section (1C) shall, if the act abetted is committed in consequence of the abetment, be punishable with the punishment provided for that offence.] (2) When any person is convicted of an offence against this Act, the court trying the offence may order that any captive animal, wild animal, animal article, trophy, 11[uncured trophy, meat, ivory imported into India or an article made from such ivory, any specified plant, or part or derivative thereof] in respect of which the offence has been committed, and any trap, tool, vehicle, vessel or weapon, used in the commission of the said offence be forfeited to the State Government and that any licence or permit, held by such person under the provisions of this Act, be cancelled. (3) Such cancellation of licence or permit or such forfeiture shall be in addition to any other punishment that may be awarded for such offence. (4) Where any person is convicted of an offence against this Act, the court may direct that the licence, if any, granted to such person under the Arms Act, 1959 (54 of 1954), for possession of any arm with which an offence against this Act has been committed, shall be cancelled and that such person shall not be eligible for a licence under the Arms Act, 1959 (54 of 1959), for a period of five years from the date of conviction. 12[(5) Nothing contained in section 360 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) or in the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 (20 of 1958) shall apply to a person convicted of an offence with respect to hunting in a sanctuary or a National Park or of an offence against any provision of Chapter VA unless such person is under eighteen years of age.]
Expert Lawyers in Animal Laws Consumer Protection Criminal
D.O.E. : 1/2008
View Full Profile
D.O.E. : 1/2015
Mumbai suburban
View Full Profile
D.O.E. : 2/1989
View Full Profile
D.O.E. : 6/2019
View Full Profile
D.O.E. : 2/2014
South Delhi
View Full Profile

Please enter the text



Send your queries to

[email protected]
Consult Criminal Lawyers from your City!
Post Your Matter
Post Your Matter to connect with the Lawyer online
Call 7604047602 for any assistance
Symbol for Lawyer
Find Lawyers by Location

Download the Clients App on

Vidhikarya App on Android Platform

Contact Details

[email protected]
505-A, Terminus Building,
Newtown, Action Area I,
Kolkata 700156

Download the Lawyers App on

Vidhikarya App on Android Platform

Certified by Startup India, DPIIT


Payment secured by :

PayUMoney PayPal net banking
visa master maestro
Celebrating 5 years