The Supreme Court recently refused to pass directions to prohibit the slaughter of cow progeny, stating that the issue falls within the domain of the legislature [Mathala Chandrapati Rao vs Union of India and ors].

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Sanjay Karol said that it cannot compel the legislature to enact a law to ban the slaughter of cow progeny.

“[On] the prayer made by the appellant regarding prohibiting the slaughter of cow progeny, we may observe that this is something which is for the competent legislature to decide. Even in writ jurisdiction, this Court cannot compel the legislature to come out with Particular legislation,” the Court observed in its order passed on July 11.

The observations came while disposing of a batch of appeals challenging an August 2018 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that had declined to issue a direction to ban the slaughter of milch cattle.

The appellant had moved an application before the NGT with the following prayers:

  • Direct the respondents to immediately take steps to save and conserve critically endangered indigenous species of livestock;
  • Direct the respondents to immediately take preventive steps to contain the decline of indigenous breeds/species of cattle in India and effectively implement Rashtriya Gokul Mission;
  • Direct the respondents to ensure that the promotion of cross-breeding and breeding with exotic breeds of cattle in India is regulated with minimum interference and disease exposure risk to the indigenous species of cattle;
  • Direct the respondents to take necessary steps to ensure that milch cattle of indigenous breeds are not slaughtered;
  • Direct the respondents to take necessary steps to carry out research in improving the milk yield of indigenous cattle without restoring to cross-breeding;

The NGT, after taking into account the National Livestock Policy as well as various State laws, had held that no specific directions were needed to be issued in the matter.


In the appeal against the same, the top court issued a notice to the State government in 2019, and over the course of hearings since then learned of the steps taken by various States regarding the issue.


The appellant contended that a cow slaughter ban would benefit a large population of India.


The top court did not find force in such a submission and upheld the NGT order.


The Court clarified that the petitioner can make necessary representations to concerned authorities regarding steps needed for protecting critically- endangered indigenous livestock species.


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