Judge’s cow, peacock remarks: Legal fraternity says law and faith shouldn’t be mixed
The legal fraternity in Rajasthan is aghast at former high court justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma for the cow and peacock statements he made on the last day of his tenure, saying “constitutionally the judgment was not correct”.
Justice Sharma recommended declaring cow a national animal, and cited benefits of cow urine and cow dung, while disposing of a 2010 PIL on a government-managed cow shelter in Hingonia near Jaipur.
The judge also said peacock does not have sex and the peahen gets pregnant drinking the tears of the peacock, evoking strong reactions.
Lawyers and former high court judges felt that law and faith should not be mixed and such a judgment on the last day was against judicial dignity.
Former Rajasthan high court judge Pana Chand Jain said, “What is the need of national animal status to cow as in the Constitution under article 48, cow has been given protection. The article states that the bovine cannot be slaughtered. The respective state governments are given rights to completely ban bovine slaughter.”
He asked what was the benefit in calling cow a national animal – a law cannot be made and there is no need to declare it as there is already a law to protect it.
Asking the chief secretary and attorney general to work on declaring the cow a national animal was “unconstitutional” as it cannot be implemented because the law making authority is the legislative assembly of the state. “Constitutionally, the judgment is not correct,” he said.
On the peacock remarks, justice Jain said, “I am not aware what is there in religious books but practically it is not understandable. The cow cannot be compared with peacock.”
He said that when in this country, there is no declaration of a national language, then the question of declaring cow as national animal does not arise.
Rajasthan high court advocate RP Singh said, “What he (justice Sharma) said about the sex life of a peacock is factually unfounded. Faith and law need to be kept at a respectable distance.”
Kuldeep Mathur, president of the Rajasthan High Court Lawyers Association in Jodhpur, said a judge should work within the purview of law.
He said it is the work of a legislator to decide whether the cow should be declared a national animal. If the legislature thinks fit, it can make laws for the welfare of animals.
He said there were several legal provisions for conservation of cows, which need to be strictly enforced. Moreover, a high court judge should speak on scientific basis, he added
Senior advocate Anand Purohit said a high court judge should not give such a judicial order a day before retiring. “This is contrary to judicial dignity,” he said.