B.J. Divan, C.J.
1. All these special civil applications are filed by different groups of persons interested in or connected with in one respect or another with the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and buffaloes. The points arising in these petitions are the same and Mr. Qureshi who is appearing for the petitioners in each of these special civil applications has argued the matters before us on behalf of all of them at the same time and we will dispose of all of them by this common judgment. Special Civil Application No. 185 of 1980 is filed by beef dealers. Special Civil Application No 186 of 1980 is filed by cattle dealers. Special Civil Applications No. 187 of 1980 is filed by dealers in hides and skins. Special Civil Application No. 188 of 1980 is filed by hoteliers or owners of restaurants or eating houses where non-vegetarian dishes are being served. Special Civil Application No. 189 of 1980 is filed by farmers who are interested in selling bulls and bullocks for the purpose of being slaughtered to the slaughter houses after they are no longer of any use, and Special Civil Application No. 190 of 1980 has been filed by group of persons who say that they are engaged in performing religious rites and ceremonies among Muslim community and are connected with mosques, wakfs and other Muslim religious institutions. According to them, they are respected by people of Muslim community due to their status as religious leaders of the said community.
2. The petitioners in this group of petitions have challenged the previsions of the Bombay Animal Preservation (Gujarat Amendment) Act, 1979, Gujarat Act 23 of 1979, by which certain provisions of the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, being Bombay Act 72 of 1954, have been amended. By this amendment of 1979, Sub-section (1A) was inserted in Section 5 of the principal Act, namely, Bombay Act of 1954. The said amendment also substituted a new Sub-section (3) for the original Sub-section (3) and the petitioners who are aggrieved by these amendments have challenged this enactment of the Gujarat Legislature, being Gujarat Act 23 of 1979,
3. A short historical and constitutional resume of the relevant provisions is necessary at this stage. Article 48 of the Constitution which is in the group of directive principles of State policy enacts that the State shall endeavour 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.
4. Under Schedule VII of the Constitution which sets out the Lists for the Union and the State and the Concurrent List, Item 41 in the State List speaks of 'Agriculture, including agricultural education and research, protection against pests and preservation of plant diseases.' Item 15 states: 'Preservation, protection and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases; veterinary training and practice.' Thus it is clear that as a matter of State policy, directive principles set out in Article 48 enjoin upon the State to take steps for preserving and improving breeds and prohibit the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
5. After the coming into force of the Constitution on 26th January 1950, the Bombay Legislature of the Undivided State of Bombay passed the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954, It was enacted to provide for the preservation of animals suitable for milch, breeding or for agricultural purposes. The Preamble to the Act stated 'WHEREAS it is expedient to provide for the preservation of animals suitable for milch, breeding or for agricultural purposes; it is hereby enacted., etc.' Under Sub-section (1) of Section 2 the Act was to apply in the first instance to the animals specified in the Schedule and the Schedule mentioned: 'Bovines (bulls, bullocks, cows, calves, male and famaie, buffaloes and buffalo calves)'. Under Sub-section (2) of Section 2: 'The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, apply the provisions of this Act to any other animals which in its opinion, it is desirable to preserve.' Is does not appear that the provisions of the Act have been made applicable to any other animals after the initial enactment of the Act and the Schedule by the Bombay Legislature. Section 5 of the Bombay Act is material for the purposes of this judgment. Section 5 sets out prohibition against slaughter without certificate from Competent Authority, and the 'Competent Authority' has been defined as meaning a person or body of persons appointed under Section 4 to perform the functions of a Competent Authority under the Act. Under Sub-section (1) of Section 5:
Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force or any usage to the contrary, no person shall slaughter or cause to be slaughtered any animal unless, he has obtained in respect of such animal a certificate in writing from the Competent Authority appointed fot the area that the animal is fit for slaughter.
In 1961 by Gujarat Act 16 of 1961, Sub-section (IA) was inserted and under that Sub-section (IA) - No certificate under Sub-section (1) shall be granted in respect of a cow.' Under Sub-section (2) of Section 5 as originally enacted by the Bombay Legislature it was provided:
no certificate shall be granted under Sub-section (i), if in the opinion of the Competent Authority-
(a) the animal, whether male or female, is useful or likely to become useful for the purpose of draught or any kind of agricultural operations;
(b) the animal, if male, is useful or likely to become useful for the purpose of breeding;
(c) the animal, if female, is useful or likely to become useful for the purpose of giving milk or bearing offspring.
But after the Gujarat Act 16 of 1961 when Sub-section (IA) was introduced, it was provided that 'In respect of an animal to which Sub-section (IA) does not apply, no certificate shall be granted etc.' Thus a consequential change was effected in Sub-section (2) after the insertion of Sub-section (IA) in Section 5 by Gujarat Act 16 of 1961. Under Sub-section (3) of Section 5, it was provided:
Nothing in this section shall apply to the slaughter of any animal above the age of fifteen years for bona fide religious purposes, if such animal is not a cow.
But after the enactment of Sub-section (IA) of Section 5, the words were-'for religious purposes if such animal is not a cow unless a certificate in writing has been obtained from the Competent Authority.' Under Sub-section (4) of Section 5, power has been given to the State Government to call for and examine records of the Competent Authority in reference to a particular case for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality or propriety of any order passed by the Competent Authority granting or refusing to grant any certificate under this section and the State Government has been empowered to pass such order in reference thereto as it thinks fit. Sub-section (5) provides for the form of the certificate and payment of any fee that may be prescribed at the time of granting the certificate. Subject to the revision by the State Government under Sub-section (4) of of Section 5, under Sub-section (6) of Section 5 'any order passed by the State Government under Sub-section (4) shall be final and shall not be called in question in any Court.
6. In 1978 the Government of Gujarat issued an Ordinance, being Gujarat Ordinance No. X of 1978, to amend the Bombay Animal Preserva tion Act of 1954. At the time when this Ordinance was promulgated on November 28, 1978, the Legislative Assembly of the State of Gujarat was not in session and the Preamble to the Ordinance stated:
And Whereas the Governor of Gujarat is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action to amend the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954 for the purpose hereinafter appearing; And whereas instructions of the President under the proviso to Clause (1) of article 213 of the Constitution have been obtained;.the Governor of Gujarat is hereby pleased to make and promulgate the following Ordinance.
The Ordinance was to come into force at once and by Section 2 of the Ordinance during the period of operation of the Ordinance the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954 was to have effect subject to the amendment specified in Section 3, arid thus the Bombay Act was temporarily amended. By this amending Ordinance of 1978, under Section 5 of the principal Act for Sub-section (1A) a new Sub-section (1A) was to be substituted, namely:
(IA).- No certificate under Sub-section (I) shall be granted in respect of-
(a) a cow;
(b) the calf of a cow, whether male or female and if male, whether castrated or not;
(c) a bull below the age of eighteen years;
(d) a bullock below the age of eighteen years.
For Sub-section (3) of the principal Act, a new sub-section was to be substituted, nameiy-
Nothing in this section shall apply to the slaughter of any of the following animals for bona fide religious purposes, namely:
(a) Any animal above the age of fifteen years other than a cow, bull or bullock.
(b) A bull above the age of eighteen years.
(c) A bullock above the age of eighteen years.
7. The statement of Objects and Reasons to the Ordinance states:
Under the existing provisions of the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954, although there is a total prohibition against the slaughter of a cow, the slaughter of prcgeny of a cow, that is to say bulls, bullocks and calves is prohibited, like that of other bovincs only if they are useful or likely to become useful for the purposes of draught, agricultural operations, breeding, giving milk or bearing offspring. In order to give effect to the policy of the Government towards further securing the directive principle laid down in Article 48 of the Constitution namely prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle, it is consideud necessary to impose a total prohibition against slaughter of the aforesaid progeny of a cow below the age of eighteen years as they are useful for the aforesaid purposes.
After this Ordinance was promulgated, the Legislative Assembly of the State met and in view of that session of the Legislative Assembly the provisions of the Ordinance were required to be enacted by the Legislature, otherwise the Ordinance 10 of 1978 would lapse. The Legislature did not pass the requisite legislation in lime and therefore Ordinance 10 of 1978 lapsed on March 5, 1979 Thereafter Gujarat Act 23 of 1979 was enacted and by Sub-section (2) of Section 1 the provisions of the Act are deemed to have come into force on the 28th November 1978, that is on the date on which Gujarat Ordinance 10 of 1978 came into force. This Act also inserted Sub-section (1A) but in Clause (c) and (d) changes were effected and instead of Clause (c) providing for a bull below the age of eighteen years as in the Ordinance, the Act provided under Section 5(1)(A)(c) for bull below the age of sixteen years and similarly in Clause (d) it provided for bullock of the age of sixteen years, in respect cf which eighteen years were provided in the Ordinance. The impugned Act also inserted Sub-section (3) but the following changes were made in the Act as compared to the Ordinance. In Sub-clause (b) of Section 3 it provided for a bull above the age of fifteen years and in Clause (c) it provided for a bullock above the age of fifteen years and it added a new Sub-clause (b) in Section 3 by providing that nothing in Section 5 shall apply to the slaughter of any animal not being cow or calf or a cow, on such religious days as may be prescribed.
8. Thus under the scheme of Sub-section (IA) as inserted by Gujarat Act 23 of 1979, no certificate contemplated by Sub-section (1) of Section 5 shall be granted in respect of a cow, a calf of a cow whether male or femab and if male whether castrated or not (c) a bull below the age of sixteen years, and (b) a bullock below the age of sixteen years. It must be remembered that Sub-section (2) of Section 5 still remains on the statute book and the requirement that no certificate shall be granted if in the opinion of the Competent Authority the anical, whether male or female, is useful or likely to become useful for draught or any kind of agricultural operation and secondly, if the animal if mab is useful or likely to become useful for the purpose of breeding or the animal, if female, is useful or likely to become useful for the purpose of giving milk or bearing offspring, is still there. This requirement still remains and thus even in the case of an animal not covered by Sub-section (IA) the test of usefulness for the purpose of draught or any kind of agricultural operations or, in the case of male, useful for the purpose of breeding and in the case of female, useful for giving milk or bearing offspring, has yet to be taken into account by the Competent Authority at the time of granting the certificate. Under Sub-section (3) as it now stands, a distinction has been made between slaughter of animals for bona fide religious purpose and in connection with such bona fide religious purposes any animal other than a cow, bull or bullock above the age of fifteen years can be slaughtered. A bull above the ago of fifteen years can be slaughtered and a bullock above the age of fifteen years can be slaughtered but apart from bona fide religious purposes on certain religious dajs as may be prescribed by Government, slaughter of any animal not being a cow or calf of cow is permitted irrespective of the age of the animal. Of course, it must not be a cow or a calf of cow even for the slaughter on religious days as may be prescribed but even in respect bona fide religious purposes or slaughter on prescribed religious days, certificate from the Competent Authority is required.
9. It may be mentioned at the outset that Mr. Qureshi appearing for the petitioners in this group of special civil applications at the time of arguments did not challenge the provisions of Clauses (a) and (b) and the newly enacted Sub-section (1A) of Section 5 of the Bombay Animal Preservation Act. As regards Sub-section (3) Mr. Qareshi didf not challenge the provisions of Clause (b) of Section 3. However, he challenges the provisions of Clauses (ii) and (iii) of Clause (a) of Sub-section 3 of Section 5 and what he challenges are the changes made by the Gujarat Legislature by Gujarat Act 23 of 1979. Mr. Qureshi stated at the Bar that on March 15, 1930 the State Government has invited applications and suggestions regarding the religious days to be specified and prescribed by the Slate Government under Section 5(3)(b) of the Act as it stands today and that process of prescribing the religious days for the purposes of Section 5(3)(b) has been set in motion by the State Government.
10. Mr. Qureshi pointed out that a large number of people in Ahmedabad City and in the State of Gujarat are engaged in the beef trade, both wholesale and retail, and the allied trades. He has pointed out from the petitions that several hundred shops of beef dealess both wholesale and retail are located in Ahmedabad City alone and on an average, before the new legislation came into force, about one hundred bovine cattle were being slaughtered in the slaughter houses in Ahmedabad City. Out of these, about seventy used to be bullocks and twenty-five to thirty buffaloes. He has pointed out that because of the slaughter of bovines, there are incidental trades which are dependent upon the slaughter of bovines. They are hides and skins, carcasses of animals; carcass is used for the purposes of food which is cheap food for a large number of people. He also pointed out the hides and skins after they are properly treated and processed serve the export market and serve the country by obtaining a good deal of foreign exchange. He has also pointed out that the different parts of cattle which are slaughtered, like hooves, horns, guts, pancreas, bones liver, bile and even the blood of animal, are all used for pharmaceutical purposes and products. They are also used for manufacturing concentrates of drugs and injunctions meant for supplying protein to human beings. Bones of animals which are slaughtered are utilised for the purpose of manufacturing fertilisers. He has pointed out that hides and skins of animals which die naturally in the ordinary course of nature are of an inferior quality as compared to the hides and skins of animals which are slaughtered. He has painted out shit calcium is recovered from the bones of slaughtered animals and glue is made from the hooves etc. of the slaughtered animals. Thus, this contention is that on the one hand there is the directive principle of Article 48 which requires considerations of usefulness of animals from the paint of view of giving milk, breeding, agricultural purposes and draught purposes, whereas on the other hand is the requirement of those poor sections of people who get their protein requirement from the beef which is available to them at cheap rates and thus the balance between the requirement contemplated by Article 48 and the requirement of a large section of people and traders and dealers and others is also required to be taken into consideration. He has also urged that on certain specified religious days and on certain days of certain bona fide religious ceremony, aaimals are required to be slaughtered, say for example 'Kurbani' at the time of Bakri id or Id festivals, and there arc other religious ceremonies in connection wish which animals and bovine animals are required to be slaughtered.
11. The principal contentions urged by Mr. Qureshi before us are as follows:
(1) The impugned amendments are unreasonable restrictions on the fundamental right of the petitioners under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution:
(2) His next submission is that the State of Gujarat has acted mala fide in enacting this piece of legislation being Gujarat Act 23 of 1979:
(3) His third submission was that the Stats Legislature had no legislative competence to enact the impugned legislation:
(4) His next submission is that the amended Sub-section (3) of Section 5 is an interference with the religious practices and customs and hence violates Articles 25, 26 and 29 of the Constitution: He contended in this connection that even the unamended Sub-section (3) was bad on this ground and the whole Sub-section (3) requires to be struck down, but subsequently he modified his submission by stating that in so far as the amended Sub-section (3) prevents slaughter of cows and calves, he does not press his challenge to the validity of Sub-section (3) of Section 5.
(5) His next contention is that the impugned provisions are discri minatory and violate. Article 14 of the Constitution inasmuch as discrimination is made between those who deal in meat of bulls and bullocks on the one hand and those who deal in meat of buffaloes on the oilier. He contended that there was nuniform law with respect to ali bovine cattle:
(6) His next submission was that the object and reasons seek support from Article 48 but ia fact the provisions are not protected by Article 48 and he further contended in this connection that the impugned provisions seek to protect animils which are already protected under Section 5(2):
(7) His last contention was that retrospective effect sought to be given to the amendments made by Gujarat Act 23 of 1979, namely, with effect from 28th November 1979, is illegal and contrary to the basic principles of criminal jurisprudence. In connection with this submission he pointed out that under Section 8 of the Bombay Act of 1954-'Whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this Act shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both.' and under Section (9): 'Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, all offences under this Act shall be cognizable.
12. At one stage of the arguments Mr. Qareshi urged before us that though in the State of Gujarat slaughtering of bulls and bullocks below fifteen years of age was not permitted, by virtue of the amendment inserted by Gujarat Act 23 of 1979, bulls and bullocks irrespective of any age were allowed to be exported out of Gujarat and hence animals which could not be slaughtered in the State of Gujarat could after export be slaughtered in neighbouring States or the State to which they are exported. 5 In this connection, learned Advocate General appearing oa behalf of the State Government has drawn our attention to the relevant directions issued by the Government to those authorities, namely, the Collectors of different districts who are in charge of issuing permits for the purpose of cattle export under the provisions of the Cattle Movement (Control) Order, that permission for the export of bulls and bullocks below the age of sixteen years should not b: granted with effect from January 1, 1980. Gujarat Act 23 of 1979 received assent of the Governor after having been passed by the Gujurat Legislature on October 16, 1979. Hence the argument that though the Act prevented slaughter of bulls and bullocks below sixteen years of age in the State of Gujarat, the same animals when exported out of Gujarat could be slaughtered, is no longer available to Mr. Qureshi inasmuch as export of bulls and bullocks below the age of sixteen years of age is not being permitted under the administrative instructions issued by Government of Gujarat.
13. It must be pointed out that by virtue of the provisions of Article 48 of the Constitution, any legislation prohibiting slaughter of cows and calves would be considered to be reasonable by Courts so far as challenge on the ground of Articles 19(1)(g) is concerned. Article 19(1)(g) provides that all citizens shall have the right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. But under Clause (6) of Article 19, nothing in Sub-Clause (g) of Clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said Sub-Clause. It is well-settled that any legislation which seeks to put into force any directive principle and in that legislation restrictions are put on the fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g) to carry on any particular trade or business, such restrictions would be considered reasonable for the purpose of Article 19(6).
14. In this connection it is necessary to refer to three decisions of the Supreme Court which deal with restrictions on the slaughter of cows, calves, bulls, bullocks and other bovine cattle. In Mohd. Hanif Qureshi v. State of Bihar : 1SCR629 , the Supreme Court was dealing with three distinct legislative enactments banning slaughter of certain animals. These legislations were enacted by the States of Bihar. U.P. and M.P. respectively. S.R. Das C.J. speaking for the Supreme Court pointed out: 'The controversy concerning the slaughter of cows has been raging in this country for a number of years and in the past it generated considerable ill-will amongst the two major communities resulting even in riots and civil commotion in some places.' The conclusions of the Supreme Court in Mohd. Hanif. Qureshi's case (supra) are as follows:
(l) The total ban on slaughter of cows of all ages and calves of cows, irnle and female, was quite reasonable and valid:
(2) The total ban on the slaughter of she-buffaloes, breeding bulls and working bulls (cattle and buffalo), so long as they were capable of being useful was also reasonable and valid:
(3) The total ban on the slaughter of she-buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle and buffalo) after they cease to be capable of giving milk or breeding or working as draught animals, was not in the interest of general public and was invalid.
These three are the conclusions reached by the Supreme Court in Mohd. HaniJ Qureshi's case (supra). In the three Acts which were before the Court in Mohd. Hanif Qureshi's case, the Bihar Act put total ban on the slaughter of all species of bovine cattle. The Uttar Pradesh Act put a total ban on the slaughter of cows and their progeny which included bulls, bullocks, heifers or calves. The C.P. And Berar Act placed a total ban on the slaughter of cows, bulls, bullocks, calves, male and female buffaloes and buffalo calves and slaughter of male calf of a cow bull, bullock, buffalo (male or female adult of calf) was permitted only under a certificate granted by the appropriate authority. These three Acts were enacted in pursuance of the directive principles of State policy under Article 48 of the Constitution. The petitioners in Mohd. Hanif Qureshi's case (supra) who challenged the aforesaid provisions were engaged in butchers' trade and they challenged the constitutional validity of the above provisions on the ground that they infringed their fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 19(1)(f) and (g) of the Constitution, and the Supreme Court has held as above in Mohd. Hanif Qureshi's case.
15. The second decision which is very much material and important from our point of view for the purposes of this judgment is the decision of the Supreme Court in Abdul Hakim Qureshi v. State of Bihar A.I.R. 1961 S.C. 449. In that case it was pointed out that the almost unanimous opinion of experts was that after the age of fifteen bulls and buffaloes were no longer useful for breeding, draught and other purposes and whatever iittla use they might have then was greatly off-set by the economic disadvantages of feeding and maintaining unserviceable cattle. The Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Bihar Act before it in so far as it had increased the age limit to twenty in respect of bulls, bullocks and she-buffaloes, for the purpose of their slaughter as the section imposed an unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right of the butchers to carry on their trade and profession. Moreover the restriction could not be said to be in the interest of the general public and to that extent it was held to be void. It was held that judged from the practical point of view, the provisions of Rule 3 of Bihar Preservation Improvement of Animal Rules imposed disproportionate restrictions on the fundamental rights of butchers to carry on their trade and profession and it was declared to be invalid to that extent. Thus the test which was applied by the Supreme Court was that if a piece of legislation fixed an age of more than fifteen years for the purpose of permitting slaughter at least in so far as animals other than cows and calves were concerned, was unreasonable and the major ground for the Supreme Court to hold in this fashion was as has been set out by the Supreme Court in paragraph 9 of the judgment, a paragraph 8 at page 434 of the report, the Supreme Court posed this question:
The most pertinent question is having regard to ail the relevant circumstances, is the age of 25 years laid down in Section 3 a reasonable restriction on the light of the petitioners in the interests of the general public? We are unable to say that it is.
The Supreme Court observed:. a large volurce of authoritative and expert opinion has been placed before us which shows beyond any doubt that a bull, bullock or she-buffalo does cot remain useful after 14 or 15 years and only a few of them live upto the ege of 25.
In paragraph 9, S.K. Das J. speaking for the Supreme Court observed at page 455:
We are clearly of the view that the almost unanimous opinion of experts is that after the age of 15, bulls, bullocks and buffaloes are no longer useful for breeding draught and other purposes and whatever little use they may have is greatly offset by the economic disadvantages of feeding and maintaining unserviceable cattle-disadvantages to which we had referred in much greater detail in Md. Hanif Qureshi's case : 1SCR629 . Section 3 of the Bihar Act in so far as it has increased the age limit to 25 in respect of bulls, bullocks and she-buffaloes, imposes an unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right of the petitioners, a restriction moreover which cannot be said to be in the interests of the general public, and to. that extent it is void.
In the same judgment the Supreme Court held that She age of twenty years prescribed by the U.P. Legislature for the purposes of allowing bulls and bullocks to be slaughtered was unreasonable. In paragraphs 14 and 15 the Supreme Court observed that so far as the U.P. Legislation was concerned, before a certificate could be given the animal was required to fulfils two conditions as to age and permanent unfitness and the Supreme Court considered this to be a detnonstrably unreasonable restriction from the practical point of view as the restriction really put a total ban on the slaughter of bulls even after they had ceased to be useful and following the decision In Mohd. Hnnif Qureshi's case (supra), the Supreme Court held that Section 3 of the U.P., in so far as it infringed an unreasonable restriction on the right of the petitioner as to slaughter of bulls and bullocks infringed the fundamental right of the petitioners and was to that extent void.
16. As regards the Madhya Pradesh Act also it was held by the Supreme Court that the restriction that the animal must be over twenty years of age was an excessive or unreasonable restriction.
17. A close study of this decision of the Supreme Court in Abdul Hakim v. State of Bihar (supra) clearly shows that on examination of the data before them and on a psrsual of the scientific material placed before them, the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that the useful life of a buffalo or a cow or bull or bullock was 14-15 years. In paragraph 9 they have clearly expressed the view-that the almost unanimous opinion of experts is that after the age of 55, bulls, bullocks and buffaloes are no longer useful for breeding, draught and other purposes and whatever little use they may have then is greatly offset by the economic disadvantages of feeding and maintaining unserviceable cattle.
It is true that is the later portion of the judgment, the Supreme Court has also considered the double criteria which was provided by the legislation which was impugned before them, la paragraph 27 it was pointed out-
It is open to the legislature to enact ancillary provisions to give effect to the main object of the Act, namely, the prevention of slaughter of animals like bulls bullocks or buffaloes which are still useful for the purpose for which they are generally used. It is pointed out that acts innocent in themselves may be orebibited and the restrictions in that regard would be reasonable, if the same were necessary to secure efficient enforcement of valid provisions. For example, it is open to the Legislature if it fee's it necessary, in order to reduce the possibilities of evasion to a minimum, to enact provision which would give effect to the main object of the legislation.
The Supreme Court pointed out that the unirnal must be over twenty years of age and also unfit for work or breeding is an excessive or unreasonable restriction. Since in the legislation before them the age above which cattle c.mld be slaughtered was twenty years and twenty-five years, that part of the legislation was struck down by the Supreme Court in Abdul Hakim's case (supra) but the view was in fact expressed that upto fifteen years of age cows, buffaloes, balls and bullocks were of use as draught animals or for breeding and other purposes.
18. The third case on which reliance has been placed by Mr. Qare-shi is the decision of the Supreme Court in Mohd Faruk v. State of Madhya Pradesh : 2SCR405 , In that case this petitioner before the Supreme Court challenged the notification issued by the Governor of Madhya Pradesh in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 43D(3) of the Midhya Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act cancelling confirmation of the bye-laws made by the Jabaipur Municipal Committee for inspection and regulation of slaughter houses in so far as the bye-laws related to slaughter of bulls and bullocks, which had the effect of prohibiting the slaughter of bulls and bullocks within the area of the municipality of Jabaipur and it was held that this notification imposed a direct restriction upon the fundamental right of the petitioner and was ultra vires as infringing Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. Shah J; as he then was, speaking for the Supreme Court, pointed out in paragraph 10 at page 96:
The impugned notification, though technically within the competence of the State Government, directly infringes the fundamental right of the petitioner guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g) and may be upheld only if it be established that it seeks to impose reasonable restrictions in the interests of the general public and a less drastic restriction will not ensure the interest of the genera! public. The Court must in considering the validity of the impugned law imposing a prohibition on the carrying on of a business or profession, attempt an evaluation of its direct and immediate impact upon the fundamental rights of the citizens affected thereby and the larger public interest sought to be ensured in the light of the object sought to be achieved, the necessity lo restrict the citizen's freedom, the inherent pernicious nature of the act prohibited or its capacity or tendency to be harmful to the general public, the possibility of achieving the object by imposing a less drastic restraint, and in the absence of exceptional situations such as the prevalence of a state of emergency national or local or this necessity to maintain essential supplies, or the necessity to slop activities inherently dangerous, the existence of a machinery to satisfy the administrative authority that no case for imposing the restriction may ensure the object intended to be achieved.
The sentiments of a section of the people may be hurt by permitting slaughter of bulls and bullocks in premises maintained by a local authority. But a prohibition imposed on the exercise of a fundamental right to carry on an occupation, trade or business will not be regarded as reasonable, if it is imposed not in the interest of the general public, but merely to respect the susceptibilities and sentiments of a section of the people whose way of life, belief or thought is not the same as that of the claimant.
Mr. Qureshi particularly relied upon the observations of Shah J., in paragraph 11 and he has contended that in the instant case, the legislation has been enacted with a view to satisfy the sentiments and susceptibilities of a section of the people, namely, Hindus and Jains.
19. We will come to the motivation behind the impugned legislation lateron but one thing is clear that if it is found that on an average bulls and bullocks below the age of sixteen years are useful for breeding or for draught or for agricultural purposes, then the restriction imposed by Clauses (c) and (d) of newly inserted Sub-section (1A) can be said to be valid. Similarly, the provision in newly inserted Sub-section (3) of Section 5 will also be valid so far as the challenge on the ground of Article 19(1)(g) is concerned.
20. In the affidavit-in-reply filed in this case it has been pointed out on behalf of the Government that because of improved and more scientific methods of cattle breeding and also advancement in the science of looking after the health of cattle in the State of Gujarat to-day, a situation has been reached when the usefulness of cattle for breeding, draught and other agricultural purposes is above the age of 16 years. P.J. Bhatt, Under Secretary to the Government of Gujarat, Agriculture, Forests & Cooperation Department, in his affidavit dated March 14, 1980 has pointed out in paragraph 11-.with the improved and scientific animal husbandry. services in the State, the average longevity of animals in the State has considerably increased. In I960, there were 456 Veterinary Dispensaries, First Aid Veterinary Centres, etc., whereas in the year 1979, there were as many as 810 Veterinary Dispensaries, First Aid Veterinary Centres etc. There were no mobile Veterinery Dispensaries in 1960, while there were 20 such moibile dispensaries for animals in 1979. In addition to this there are more than 600 centres for Intensive Cattle Development programme, where, besides first aid to animals, other animal husbandry impuls are also provided. In 1S60, 5 lacs of cattle were vaccinated, whereas in the year 1979, 51 lacs cattle were vaccinated to provide immunization against various diseases of animals. There were no Cattle Feed Compounding Units preparing cattle feed on scientific lines in the year 1960, while in the year 1979, there were as many as 6 Cattle Feed Factories in the State of Gujarat. As a result of improved Animal Husbandry services, the disease of Rinderpest which was widespread in the State and which took a large toll of animal life has been totally wiped out and eradicated since the year 1971-72, except for an isolated recurrence in the year 1978 in the cattle imported in the State from abroad. Similarly, in respect of Haemorrhagic Septicaemia, a disease which used to take a heavy toll of animals, the total number of deaths on account of this disease was 6689 in the year 1961-62 which has been brought down to about 2000 in the year 1978-79 on account of intensive vaccination program undertaken by the Government.
He has further pointed out in paragraph 12-.that figures of livestock census in respect of cows, buffaloes, etc., for the Gujarat area show that cattle and buffalo population has increased between the years 1951 and 1977. The population of milch cow has increased by 10.47 per cent, while the population of buffaloes has increased by 35.38 per cent during the period 1951 to 1977. This phenomenon is a result of the preference of the people for buffalo milk to cow's milk. It would also be seen that during the same period, the population of working bullocks has increased by 20.94 per cent Normally the bullock requirement of the State is met through rearing of the male calves within the State itself and as such the number of milch cows and the number of bullocks are inter-related. These figures also indicate that even though the milch cows have increased by only 10.57 per cent during the period 1951-1977, the working bullocks have increased by 20.94 per cent during the same period. This (according to the deponent) would mean that the bullocks are being maintained for a longer life span. This is possible on account of improvement in animal husbandry practices as mentioned hereinabove, and it has been possible to save and maintain these animals for longer effective utility by protecting them against various diseases.
He has also given the figures showing the total number of working bullocks for 1000 milch cows on the basis of livestock census of the State of Gujarat. In 1951 number of working bullocks per 1000 milch cows was 1689 and this figure has been increasing at the time of each census, for example, in 1956 the figure was 1766, in 1961 it was 1763, in 1966 it was 1878, in 1972 it was 1835 and in 1977 it was 1849. According to the deponent, one of the principal reasons for this considerable increase in the number of working bullocks in comparison to milch cows over a period of a quarter of a century is the longer span of life of bullocks, which is on account of modern and compounded cattle feed and adequate health cover which provides a good protection from contagious diseases resulting in reduced mortality. He has also pointed out that in prescribing the age limit for bulls and bullocks, namely, 16 years-. the present and future need for working bullocks for the purpose of cultivation in the State has also to be taken into account. According to the Quarterly Bulletin of Economics and Statistics of Livestock Census for the year 1972, published by the Bureau of Economics and Statistics, Government of Gujarat, in the year 1975 there were about 303 working bullocks over 3 years of age per 1010 Hectares of cultivable area in the State. The area under cultivation per pair of working bullocks in the State was 6.5 Hectares. According to the livestock census by the agency for the year 1977, the area under cultivation per pair of working bullocks in the Slate works out to 7.41 Hectares. This would indicate a relative reduction in the number of working bullocks per unit of cultivable land in the State, as obviously a pair of working bullocks has to be deployed over a larger area of cultivable land in the year 1977 as compared to the year 1972.
He has also pointed out that in 1951-52 the total cropped area in the State of Gujarat was 85,56,455 Hectares whereas in 1973-74 the total cropped area was 1,05,42,000 Hectares. Thus there is an increase of 23.21 per cent in the cropped area over a period of 22 years and the increase in the bullock population for the same period was 2097 per cent. In paragraph 16 of the affidavit it has been pointed out that-.the power generated through work animals is substantially less in Gujarat as compared to all-India figure. All-India power requirements per 10.0 Hectares is 800 horse power whereas the total power availability is 3732 horse power in the country. The total power availability in Gujarat is thus comparatively much less, i.e., 358 horse power per 1000 Hectares even in comparison to all-India figures mentioned earlier. On the basis of projections for the year 1000 A.D. the estirrted requirements of motive power would be 860 Horse power per 1000 Hectares.
21. Thus it is clear that because of various scientific factors, namely, better cattle feeding, better medical health and better animal husbandry services, the longevity of cattle in the State of Gujarat has increased and in this context it is correct to say that if the scientific tests were to be applied, bulls and bullocks upto 16 years of age can be said to be useful for the purpose of breeding, draught and other agricultural purposes.
22. The scientific advances in the field of animal husbandry, better cattle care and better feeding for the animals has resulted in this increase in age of usefulness so far as bulls and bullocks are concerned. Under these circumstances, in our opinion, the prescription of the age of 16 years in Clauses (c) and (d) of Sub-section (1A) of Section 5 can be said to be reasonable looking to the balance which has to be struck between public interest which requires useful animals to be preserved and permitting the different petitioners before us to carry on their trade and profession.
23. One of the arguments urged before us by Mr. Qureshi was that there is no scientific or reliable method to determine the exact age of cattle and that is also the contention raised in the main petition itself However, in the affidavit-in-reply it has been pointed out that from the test of rings at the base of the horns and the general condition of the particular animal concerned, particularly looking to the teeth of the animal and the condition of the teeth it is possible to ascertain the age accurately. It has, therefore, been submitted in the affidavit-in-reply by P.J. Bhatt that by considering the presence of worn-out stumps and the distance between two stumps which become closer by about 16 years, as also by examining the starring of the coat of the animal and condition of their skin, one can reasonably arrive at a conclusion that the animal in question is of 16 years of age. A qualified and experienced Veterinary Officer would be in a position to say from these indicia as to what is the age of an animal. He has denied the suggestion that only a few animals survive bejocd the age of 16 years or that those who survive that age are too old and decrepit or that 'their meats unfit for human consumption He has urged that bulls reared by breeders of Northern Gujarat are capable of getting fair stock at 16 years of age and will serve cows for breeding purposes upto the age of 18 or 19 or even older. He has quoted the following passage from the publication of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New delhi, in the year 1962 which was reprinted in the year 1967 - whore it has been pointed out.Indian cattle are found to do well in dry areas. They arc small and non-decrepit in areas of heavy rainfall, such as the, constal or the hilly areas of the country. Cattle of good breeds are thus found in the Punjab, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. Varying types of cattle may be seen within the limits of the same State. Thus in Bombay one finds excellent cattle in Gujarat and similar dry parts of the State, while in Madras, such cattle arc observed in Coircbatore.
In the book 'Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in India' by M S Randhawar, published in the year 1958 and revised in the year 1962 by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, it has been mentioned that there are various regions in the country for animal husbandry and the 'Dry Northern Region for this purpose comprises the plains in the Punjab, Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The rainfall is below 30 inches. The home tract of most of the important breeds of cattle and buffaloes, e.g. Hariyana, Nagore, Malvi, Kankrej and Gir cattle and Murrah buffaloes are located in this region. The livestock of this region are comparatively well-fed and on the whole more productive than that of any other region.' Thus it is clear that so far as Gujarat is concerned, because of the climatic conditions the average rainfall being less than 30 inches, it has become possible for the animal breeders to breed cattle which are useful upto the age of 16 years. Bulls and bullocks are useful for breeding, draught and agricultural purposes beyond the age of 16 years and that it is possible scientifically to determine the age of! 6 years by the different indicia pointed out above and hence it cannot be said that it is not possible for any Veterinary Surgeon to fix the age of an animal of bovine species after the animals has crossed the age of 12 years.
24. Under these circumstances the first ground of challenge on the ground of unreasonableness fails because, in our opinion, the material before us clearly goes to show that in the light of the scientific advances which have taken place since 1962, the longevity of the cattle and the useful life of the cattle has been increased and, therefore, the prescribed age of 16 years can be said to be a reasonable restriction on the right of the petitioners to carry on trade and profession as Qureshij in Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.
25. As regards the challenge on the ground of mila fides of the State in enacting this legislation, it was contended by Mr. Qureshi that the amendment is not based on any rational public policy which would require that maximum number of useless bulls and bullocks should be allowed to be slaughtered because if they are allowed to be slaughtered, meat, hides, etc., would be available and more fodder would be released for cattle which are really useful to society and there would be increase in agricultural production if this slaughtering is allowed and the breed would also improve. He has further contended that the impugned legislation is not in the interest of the general public but out of respect for sentiments of a few persons, a lot of damage and hardship to quite a large section of the public has been caused. The impugned legislation, deprives the poor people of cheap and nutritive protein rich diet. It imposes a heavy burden on the farmer to maintain useless cattle. It adversely affects the fundamental right of thousands of persons (including the petitioners) and interferes with the established religious customs and ceremonies of a section of the public. He has further contended that the legislature has adopted dilatory and dubious method of bringing in the legislation in question. There was no Select Committee, no full debate, no public reaction was sought, the Ordinance was not necessary at all and as the preamble to the Ordinance shows, there was no urgency for the Ordinance. The amendment to the existing law should have been done by an Act of the Legislature. This shows the mala fides of the Government and the Government has sponsored this particular legislation. A further contention on the ground of mala fides was that the Ordinance was allowed to lapse as a result of strong opposition from the various sections of the public. This is denied by the respondents. According to the respondents the pressure of work before the Legislature prevented the Ordinance from being replaced by an Act. Mr. Qureshi urged that Government was convinced that this was a bad piece of legislation and should not be enacted, but ultimately the Government gave in to the pressure tactics of a group of people and got this legislation enacted. Lastly it was contended that there was an ulterior motive on the part of the Government to placate certain religious leaders and get support of the majority of the voters by pacifying those religious leaders on the issue of slaughter of progency of cows and that is how according to Mr. Qureshi the impugned piece of legislation has been enacted.
26. In our opinion, the motivation behind a piece of legislation is totally immaterial. The only this which the Courts have to see is whether the Legislature in question was competent to enact the impugned legislation and, secondly, whether the impugned legislation infringes any of the fundamental rights under the Constitution. Once it is ascertained that the enactment has been passed by a competent legislature and secondly that the legislation does not violate any provisions of the Constitution or any of the fundamental rights, the legislation cannot be rendered invalid by the Courts on the ground of factors which are alleged to have motivated the Legislature in enacting the legislation.
27. As far back as 1959, the Supreme Court has pointed out in G. Nageswara Rao v. A.P S.R.T. Corporation : AIR1959SC308 through K. Subba Rao J., as he then was, speaking for the majority Court at page 315 in paragraph 7 citing the following passage from the decision of Mahajan J., as he then was in M. Kimeshwar Singh's case : 1SCR1020 .
It is by no means easy to impute a dishonest motive to the legislature of a State and hold that it acted mala fide and maliciously in passing the Bihar Land Reforms Act or that it perpetrated a fraud on the Constitution by enacting this law. It may be that some of the provisions of the Act may operate harshly on certain persons or a few of the Zamindars and may be bad if they are in excess of the legislative power of the Bihar Legislature but from that circumstance it does not follow that the whole enactment is a fraud on the Constitution.
After examining the contentions and the legal position, the position was clarified at page 316 as follows:
The Legislature can only make laws within its legislative competence. Its legislative field may be circunucribed by specific legislative entries or limited by Fundamental Rights created by the Constitution. The Legislature cannot overstep the field of its competency, directly or indirectly. The Court will sciutinize the law to ascertain whether the Legislature by device purports to make a law which, though in form appears to be within its sphere, in effect and substance, reaches beyond it, in fact, it has power to make the law, its motives in making the law are irrelevant.
(Emphasis supplied by us)
Again in Sarup Singh v. State of Punjab A.I.R. 1959 S.C. 860 at page 864 in paragraph 5, S.K. Das J., speaking for the Supreme Court observed-
Learned Counsel for the petitioners has first commented on what he has characterised as undue haste in passing the amending Act of 1959. He has submitted that the Pepsu area came within the State of Punjab in November, 1956 and for about two years, the Punjab Government evinced no serious anxiety to extend the principal Act to that area; but from 16-11-1958, when the annual election of the Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee was held, up to January, 1959, when the amending Act of 1959 was passed, hurried proceedings were taken to enact the amending law in question and so constitute the Board that a particular group of Sikhs might not regain the majority it had lost on 16-11-1958. In our opinion these submissions (we do not say whether they are right or wrong) have no bearing on the question at issue before us. The petitioners have not specifically alleged in their petition that the State Government has acted in any mala fide manner; and whatever justification some people may feel in their criticisms of the political wisdom of a particular legislative or executive action, this Court cannot be called upon to embark on an enquiry into public policy or investigate into questions of political wisdom of even to pronounce upon motives of the legislature in enacting a law which it is otherwise competent to make.
(Emphasis supplied by us)
28. The same statement of the law is to be found in a recant decision of the Suprems Court, namely, R.J. Joshi v. Ajit Mills : 1SCR338 . Krishna Iyer, J., specking for the majority of the learned Judges who heard the matter pointed out in paragraph 2 at page 2282-
When examining a legislation from the angle of its vires, the Court has to be resilient, not rigid, forward-looktng, not static, liberal, not verbal in interpreting the organic law of the nation. We must also remember the constitutional proposition enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Munn v. Illinois (1876) 94 U.S. 113 quoted in Labour Board v. Jones and Laughlin (1936) 301 U.S. 33-34-Corwin, Constitution of the U.S.A., Introduction, p. xxxi viz., 'that courts do not substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies'. Moreover, while trespasses will not be forgiven, a presumption of constitutionality must colour judicial construction. These factors, recognised by our court, are essential to the modus vivendi between the judicial and legislative branches of the State, both working beneath the canopy of the Constitution.
Again in paragraph 16 at page 2286, Krishna Iyer J., observed-.if a legislation, apparently enacted under one Entry in the List, falls in plain truth and fact, within the content, not of that Entry but of one assigned to another legislature, it can be struck down as colourable even if the motive were most commendable. In other words, the letter of the law notwithstanding, what is the pith and substance of the Act? Does it fall within any entry assigned to that legislature in pith and substance, or as covered by the ancillary power implied in that Entry? Can the legislation be read down reasonably to bring it within the legislature's constitutional powers? If these questions can be answered affirmatively, the law is valid. Malice or motive is beside the point, and it is not permissible to suggest Parliamentary incompetence on the score of mala fide.
Kailasam J., who delivered separate judgment pointed out in paragraph 48 at page 2302-
The plea of a device or colourable legislation would be irrelevant if the legislature is competent to enact a particular law. The question is one of competence of a particular legislature to enact a particular law. If the legislature in competent to pass particular law the motive which impelled it to act is not relevant. After the decision in Abdul Quader's case : 6SCR867 where it was pointed out that it was competent for the legislature to provide penalties for the contravention of the provisions of the Act for its better enforcement, the provision in an enactment levying such a penalty cannot be challenged.
29. Thus it is clear that if the State Legislature was competent to enact the legislation and if the enacted legislation does not violate any of the fundamental rights, the question of motives and mala fides is to tally immaterial. We will not go into the question of the alleged preference shown by the State Legislature to the religious sentiments and susceptibilities of certain religious or political leaders or certain religious beliefs.
30. The third submission of Mr. Qureshi was that there was no legislative competence in the Gujarat Legislature to enact the impugned legislation. He has not been able to point out from any of the Entries in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution as to hew there was no Legislative competence but his arguments in this submission can be summarised as follows:
(A) Competence can arise out of economic or social need or when there are compelling reasons of national good.
(B) Legislative competence does not arise out of political expediency or to support superstitious beliefs of a section of the public.
(C) Legislative competence would have been there if the State had made out a case that there is an acute dearth of uneconomic' and unserviceable bulls and bullocks and that it was necessary to preserve them as a threatened species
(D) Surplus of useless cattle in Gujarat has been admitted by the State when it has been set out in the affidavit-in-reply that use less bulls and bullocks are allowed to be exported out of the State. The State, according to Mr. Qureshi, is acting with an ulterior motive in imposing the ban while permitting the export; and lastly,
(E) Better feeding and veterinary services have increased the number of useful balls and bullocks and correspondingly reduced the number of useless ones and hence the restriction should be more liberal.
31. So far as the question of legislative competence is concerned, the only question that we have to consider is, whether the legislation in question comes within any of the Entries in the State List set out in the Seventh Schedule. As we have pointed out at the commencement of this judgment. Entries 14 and 15 in the State List in the Seventh Schedule are....
14. Agriculture, including agricultural education and research, protection against pests and prevention of plant diseases.
15. Preservation, protection and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases; veterinary training and practice.
It is well-settled law that once a piece of legislation is relatable to or covered by an appropriate Entry in the Seventh Schedule, then the legislature has powers of widest amplitude for enacticg the legislation in that connection and this is the only way in which the competence of the legislature can be judged and the contentions urged by Mr. Qureshi in his submission that it was not competent to the legislature of the State of Gujarat to enact the impugned legislation must be rejected.
32. It was next contended that the impugned amendments and parti cularly amendment of Sub-section (3) of Section 5 in aninterference with the religious practices and customs and hence violates Articles 25, 26 and 29 of the Constitution. The whole sub-section deserves to be struck down. Even unamended Sub-section (3) of Section 5 was bad on the ground of violation of Articles 25, 26 and 29 of the Constitution. We drew Mr. Qureshi's attention to Clause (2)(a) of Article 25 which provides.
Nothing in this Article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law.
(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with icligious practice.
The religious practice which is sought to be brought into ihis action is the practice of the Muslim community to offer sacrifice of animals at the time of certain religious observances and also slaughtering of animals of the bovine species at the time of certain religious festivals, particularly, what is known as Kurbani. Under Clause (1) of Article 25:
Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.
So far as the provisions of Sub-section (3) of Section 5 as inserted by the Amending Act are concerned, it is clear tint slaughtering of bulls and bullocks below the particular age or slaughter on a particular occasion have been in connection with religious purposes and have repercussions on the economic activity, namely, agricultural activities in the State. As has been pointed out by the Supreme Court in Model. Hanif Quresfii's case (supra) it is clear that directive principles set out in Article 48 of the Constitution have been included in the Constitution because of the peculiar circumstances of agronomy of our country. It is in the context of usefulness from the economic activities like breeding, provision of milk and agricultural activities that the test has to be applied whether a particular animal is useful from the point of view of these various purposes. Thus all that the impugned piece of legislation does is to regulate or restrict the economic activity which is associated with religious practice. Religious practice is to slaughter animals on certain occasions and on the occasion of certain religious festivals or religious practices but the impugned piece of legislation regulates these practices by prescribing the age so far as bulls and bullocks are concerned and restricts the slaughter so far as cows and calves are concerned. In our opinion, in view of Article 25(2j(a) of the Constitution it is obvious that the impugned legislation does not violate, particularly Sub-section (3) of Section 5 docs not violate Article 25 of the Constitution.
33. Article 26 deals merely with the freedom to manage religious affairs and it cannot be said that any of the Clauses (a), (b), (c) and (d) of Article 26 has been violated because there is no question of infringing the right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes There is no question of the right to manage the community's own affairs in matters of religion or to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and to administer such property in accordance with law.
34. Article 29 deals with cultural and educational rights and it provides:
(1) Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
(2) No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
There is no question of violation of Sub-article (2) of Article 29 and so far as Article 29 is concerned, there is 110 question of protection of interests of minorities. Here we are dealing with a clear case where certain activities namely, slaughtering of bulls and bullocks upto a particular age is sought to be regulated in the interest of the general public and in view of Article 25(2)(a) of the Constitution it cannot be said that Article 25 is violated and ihere is no question of interfering with the right to manage Muslim community's own affairs in matters of religion. In our opinion, therefore, the challenge on the ground of Articles 25, 26 and 29 must fail.
35. It was contended that the impugned legislation discriminates between dealers who deal in meat of bulls and bullocks and those who deal in meat of buffaloes on the other, it has been pointed out that there is no uniform law with respect to all cattle. It was contended that cattle and beef dealers in other States in India are not subjected to similar restrictions and hence also there is violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. In our opinion, the dealers in different types of beef are not in the same class. It is only if the classification is unreasonable that the classification can be struck down but there, as pointed out earlier, a clear distinction is maintained on scientific grounds between animals which are useful and which have not yet reached the age of 16 years so far as bulls and bullocks are concerned. It may be pointed out that as regards buffaloes, there is no restriction as to age and the only restriction is Sub-section (2) of Section 5 and that section has remained unimpeded, namely, the test is whether the animal, whether male or female, is useful or likely to become useful for the purpose of draught or any kind of agricultural operations; whether the animal, if male, is useful or likely to become useful for the purpose of breeding and whether the animal, if female, is useful or likely to become useful for the purpose of giving milk or bearing offspring. In our opinion, looking to the different purposes for which buffaloes and their progeny on the one hand and cows and their progeny on the other are used in our States, it cannot be said that there is any hostile discrimination against those who deal in meat of bulls and bullocks. Bulls and bullocks, particularly bullocks, are useful for agricultural purposes and male buffaloes are never used for any purpose other than breeding or rearing progeny and under these circumstances, Article 14 cannot help the petitioners in the instant case.
36. The next contention of Mr. Qureshi was that though the objects and reasons of the Amending Act seek support from Article 48, in fact the provisions are not protected by Article 48. It was contended that the impugned provisions seek to protect animals which are already protected under Section 5(2) and hence Clauses (c) and (d) of Sub-section (1A) are not protected by Article 48. He contended that the object of Article 48 would be hampered and useless animals will be protected and agriculture and breeding both will suffer. In this connection, it must be pointed out that from the materials placed before us it is clearly established that bulls and bullocks upto the age of 16 years are useful animals and it is by way of a rough and ready method of testing the usefulness of bulls and bullocks for different purposes, like, breeding, draught animals and agricultural purposes that the age of 16 years has been provided. In Abdul Hakim Qureshi's case (supra) it was found by the Supreme Court in 1961 that bulls and bullocks upto the age of 15 years were useful from different points of view and as we have observed above, in view of the better medical care, better animal breeding and better scientific practices, the longevity of cattle in Gujarat has increased as a whole and therefore, the raising of the limit upto 16, tint is, one year more than what the Supreme Court found in 1961 is identified on the materials before us. Sub-section 5(2) thus provided the test of usefulness but so far as Clauses (c) and (J) of Sub-section (IA) of Section 5 are concerned, it is obvious that those Clauses provide a rough and ready test so far as bulls and bullocks are concerned as to their usefulness. Whit has been provided for all animals of the bovine services under Sub-section (2) of Section 5 is more particularly specified in Clauses (c) and (d) of Sub-section (IA) of Section 5 so far as bulls and bullocks are concerned and hence it can be said in one respect that Clauses (c) and (d) of Sub-section (IA) merely provided particular instances of the application of the general principles set out in Section 5(2) so far as bulls and bullocks are concerned.
37. It was lastly contended by Mr. Qureshi that because of the penal provisions contained in Section 8 of the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, 1954, acts which were lawful when done namely, between 5th March 1979 and the passing of Gujarat Act 23 of 1979 on 16th October 1979, slaughter of bulls and bullocks below the age of 16 years carried out between these two dates would become punishable and, therefore, retrospective effect given to the Amending Act by Sub-section (2) of Section 1 is illegal, unfair and unjust. The only answer to this submission is that it is open to the legislative to make any law and to give retrospective effect to its legislation But so far as penalties are concerned, Article 20 Clause (1) of the Constitution provides that-
No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged..
38. It is clear, therefore, that between March 5, 1979 when the Ordinance lapsed and October 16, 1979 when Gujarat Act 23 of 1979 was enacted, whatever was done, even if technically it becomes an offence under Section 8 of the Bombay Animal Preservation Act, no person can be convicted for those deemed offences because Article 20 Clause (1) prohibits conviction of any person for such an offence since these provisions of law were not in force at the time of the commission of the acts which have subsequently been nude offences with retrospective effect. Clause (1) of Article 20 gives protection to the acts concerned. It does not render the Act giving retrospective effect to a penal piece of legislation illegal or void. Under these circumstances this last submission on behalf of the petitioners must fail and is rejected.
39. All the contentions urged on behalf of the petitioners fail and are therefore, rejected. We have already indicated earlier the order that we proposed to pass and it is for the reasons that we have hereinabove set out that the said order was parsed.