The Gujarat High Court was on Tuesday informed that the carcasses of more than 30 cows and other animals found at a dumping site in Nadiad were old and were not of cattle impounded and kept in a pound as part of the state government policy to prevent stray cattle menace.
The division bench of Justices Ashutosh Shastri and Hemant Prachchhak was hearing a plea seeking action against government officials for contempt of court’s order in a PIL seeking its direction to curb cattle menace.
During the last hearing, the court was informed about the death of around 30 cows that were allegedly impounded and kept in a cattle pound.
Observing that innocent animals cannot be sacrificed for public comfort, the court sought a report from the local administration.
In an affidavit, the Nadiad civic body’s chief officer Rudresh Hudad said an inspection was carried out at the dumping site on December 2, the same day the newspaper report was published.
It stated that on physical examination, it appeared that the carcasses were 20-22 days old, and there were skeletal remains of 35-40 animals, including cows, buffaloes, donkeys, etc, at the site.
“No complaint was received from cattle owners of Nadiad city or nearby villages regarding any theft or outbreak of any disease that could result in the sudden death of a large number of animals in a short span,” the affidavit stated.
The newspaper report was factually incorrect, as only seven impounded cattle have died, and skeletons of animals found at the dumping site did not belong to those housed at the cattle pound, it said.
The carcasses of seven cows that died at the cattle pound were disposed of as per the regular process, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Vimal Bajpai said in another affidavit.
The court had directed the authorities to carry out a probe and submit a report after taking on record an affidavit filed by one Maulik Shrimali, a Nadiad resident, in a plea for contempt of court’s order in a PIL seeking its direction to curb cattle menace.
Shrimali, in his affidavit, said that he came across carcasses of around 30 cows butchered and thrown in an open parcel of land, probably belonging to the Nadiad Municipal Corporation, after reading a news report about the deaths of 30 cows in a cattle pound.
The state government had earlier informed the court that it issued a circular formulating a policy/guideline on August 21, 2023, to prevent stray cattle menace in eight municipal corporations and 157 municipality areas, and all the urban bodies have been directed to comply with it.
On Tuesday, petitioner Mustak Hussain Kadri moved another contempt plea in his PIL over traffic issues in Ahmedabad city. The court kept the matter for the next hearing on December 21.