Supreme Court of India
Akadasi Padhan vs State Of Orissa on 5 December, 1962
The essential attributes of the law creating a monopoly will vary with the nature of the trade or business in which the monopoly is created. They will depend upon the nature of
the commodity, the nature of commerce in which it is involved and several other circumstances. A law relating to State monopoly in respect of road
transport or air transport would not normally infringe the citizen's fundamental right under Art. 19 '(1) (f). Likewise, a State monopoly to manufacture steel, armaments,
transport vehicles or railway engines and coaches can be provided for by law and that would not normally impinge on Art. 19 (1) (f). However, if the law creating such
monopolies makes incidental provisions directly impinging on the citizens' right under Art. 19 (1) (f), the case would be different.
Having regard to the scheme of the State monopoly envisaged by the Act, s. 4 cannot be said to be such an essential part of the said monopoly as to fall within the expression "law
relating to" under Art. 19 (6). The validity of s. 4 has to be tested in the light of the first part of Art. 19 (6) so far as the petitioner's rights under Art. 19 (1) (g) are concerned and under Art. 19 (5) so far as his rights under Art. 19 (1) (f) are concerned, So tested, the restrictions
regarding the fixation of prices prescribed by s. 4 are reasonable and in the interest of the general public both under Art. 19 (5) and Art. 19 (6). Hence s. 4 is valid.
Section 3 of the Act is also not open to any challenge. This section allows either the Government or an officer of the Government authorised in that behalf or an agent in
respect of the unit in which the leaves have grown, to purchase or transport Kendu leaves. The Court was satisfied that the two categories of persons specified in cls. (b) and
(c) are intended to work as agents of the Government and all their actions and dealings in pursuance of the provisions of the Act would be actions and dealings on behalf of the
Government and for the benefit of the Government. If s. 3 is valid, s. 8 which authorises the appointment of agents, must also be held valid.
When the State carries on any trade, business or industry it must inevitably carry it on either departmentally or through its officers appointed for that purpose. In the very nature
of things, the State cannot function without the help of its servants or employees and that inevitably introduces the concept of agency in a narrow and limited sense. There are
some trades or businesses in which it may be inexpedient to undertake the work of trade or business departmentally or with the assistance of State servants. in such cases, it is open to the State to employ the services of agents, provided the agents work on
behalf of the State and not for themselves. Rule 7 (5) provides that on appointment as agent the person appointed shall execute an agreement in such form as Government may direct. This rule is bad because it leaves it to the sweet will and pleasure of the officer concerned
to fix any terms and conditions on an ad hoc basis. This is beyond the competence of the State Government. The terms and conditions of the agreement must be prescribed by rules.
When the agreement actually made in this case is considered, it leaves no room for doubt that the person appointed under the agreement to work the monopoly of the State is not an
agent in the strict and narrow sense of the term contemplated by Art. 19 (6) (ii). The agent appointed under this agreement seems to carry on the trade substantially on
his own account. If he makes any profit after paying the amount specified in the contract, that profit is his. If he incurs any loss, that loss is his. He is not made accountable to tile State Government and the State Government is not responsible for his actions. It is impossible to hold that the agreement is consistent with the terms of s. 3 of the Act. Hence, the agreement is invalid. The State Government cannot implement the provisions of the Act with the assistance of agents appointed under the said invalid agreement.
Supreme Court of India
Excel Wear Etc vs Union Of India & Ors on 29 September, 1978
The right to close down a business cannot be equated with a right not to start or carry on n business at all. The extreme proposition urged on behalf of the employer by equating the two rights and placing them at par is not quite apposite and sound. If one does not start a business
at all, then perhaps under no circumstances, he can be compelled to start one. Such a negative aspect of a right to carry on a business may be equated with the negative aspect
of the right embedded in the concept of the right to freedom of speech, to form an association or to acquire or hold property. Perhaps under no circumstances, a person can be
compelled to speak, to form an association or to acquire or hold a property. But by imposing reasonable restrictions, he can be compelled not to speak, not to form an association or
not to acquire or not to hold property. A total prohibition of business is possible by putting reasonable restrictions under Article 19(6) on the right to carry on a business.
However, the greater the restriction, the more the need for strict scrutiny by the Court. The contention put forward on behalf of the labour unions that the right to close down
a business is not an integral part of the right to carry on a business or that it is not a fundamental right at all is also wrong. In one sense the right does appertain to
property. But such a faint overlapping of the night to property engrafted in Art. 19(1)(f) or Art. 31 must not be allowed to cast any shade or eclipse on the simple nature of
the right. However, the right to close down is not an absolute right. It can certainly be restricted, regulated or controlled by law in the interest of the general public.
we may make some general observations. Concept of socialism or a socialist state has undergone changes from time to time from country to country and from thinkers to thinkers. But some basic concept still holds the field. In the case of Akadasi Padhan v. State of Orissa the question for consideration was whether a law creating a State monopoly is valid under the latter part of Article 19(6) which was introduced by the (first Amendment) Act, 1951. While considering that question, it was pointed out by Gajendragadkar J., as he then was, at page 704:
"With the rise of the philosophy of Socialism, the doctrine of State ownership has been often discussed by political and economic thinkers. Broadly speaking, this discussion discloses a difference in approach. To the socialist, nationalisation or State ownership is a matter of principle and its justification is the general notion of social welfare. To the rationalist, nationalisation 1 or State ownership is a matter of expediency dominated by considerations of economic efficiency and increased output only production. This latter view supported nationalisation only when it appeared clear that State ownership would be more efficient, more economical and more productive. The former approach was not very much influenced by these considerations, and treated it a matter of principle that all important and nation-building industries should come under State control. The first approach is doctrinaire, while the second is pragmatic. The first proceeds on the general ground that all national wealth and means of producing it should come under national control, whilst the second supports nationalisation only on grounds of efficiency and increased output."
The difference pointed out between the doctrinaire approach to the problem of socialism and the pragmatic one is very apt and may enable the courts to lean more and more in favour of nationalisation and State ownership of an industry after the addition of the word `Socialist in the Preamble of the Constitution. But so long as the private ownership of an industry is recognised and governs an overwhelmingly large proportion of our economic structure, is it possible to say that principles of socialism and social justice can be pushed to such an extreme so as to ignore completely or to a very large extent the interests of another section of the public namely the private owners of the undertakings ? Most of the industries are owned by limited companies in which a number of shareholders, both big and small, holds the shares. There are creditors and depositors and various other persons connected with or having dealings with the undertaking. Does socialism go to the extent of not looking to the interests of all such persons? In a State owned undertaking the Government of the Government company is the owner. If they are compelled to close down, they, probably, may protect the labour by several other methods at their command, even, sometimes at the cost of the public exchequer. It may not be always advisable to do so but that is a different question. But in a private sector obviously the two matters involved in running it are not on the same footing. One part is the management of the business done by the owners or their representatives and the other is running the business for return to the owner not only for the purpose of meeting his livelihood or expenses but to for the purpose of the growth of the national economy by formation of more and more capital. Does it stand to reason that by such rigorous provisions like those contained in the impugned sections all these interests should be completely or substantially ignored ? The questions posed are suggestive of the answers.
In the result all the petitions are allowed and it is declared that Section 25-O of the Act as a whole and Section 25-R in so far as it relates to the awarding of punishment for infraction of the provisions of Section 25-O are constitutionally bad and invalid for violation of Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution. Consequently, the impugned orders passed under sub-section (2) of Section 25-O in all the cases are held to be void and the respondents are restrained from enforcing them. We must, however, make it clear that since the orders fall on the ground of the constitutional invalidity of the law under which they have been made, we have not thought it fit to express any view in regard to their merits otherwise. We make no order as to costs in any of the petitions.
Supreme Court of India
Om Prakash & Others vs State Of Up & Others on 9 March, 2004
The law regulating local administration of an urban or rural area affects the social and economic life of the community. As pointed out by another Legal Thinker Stone, in his book Social dimensions of Law & Justice 'reasonable restriction', if properly used, helps in 'adjustments of conflicting interests' such as in the present case where large number of people residing and visiting Rishikesh, believe in strict vegetarianism as a part of their religion and way of life. The appellants who are running hotels and restaurants and others like them constitute comparatively a very small section of the society engaged in carrying on trade of non-vegetarian food items in the town.
The reasonableness of complete restriction imposed on trade of non-vegetarian food items has, therefore, to be viewed from the cultural and religious background of the three municipal towns.
It is a matter of common knowledge that members of several communities in India are strictly vegetarians and shun meat, fish and eggs. Such people in great number regularly and periodically visit Haridwar, Rishikesh and Muni Ki Reti on pilgrimage.
In the three towns people mostly assemble for spiritual attainment and religious practices. All citizens are enjoined by Fundmental Duties prescribed in Article 51-A to respect faith of each other and thereby 'promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood' in a pluralistic society as India is.
Article 51-A "It shall be the duty of every citizen of India
(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture."
The Fundamental Duties enjoined on citizens under Article 51-A should also guide the legislative and executive actions of elected or non-elected institutions and organisations of the citizens including the municipal bodies.
The resolution by Municipal Board Rishikesh to amend its bye- laws for banning public dealing and trade of non-vegetarian food items in municipal town of Rishikesh along with adjoining towns of Haridwar and Muni Ki Reti has been taken in deference to the religious and cultural demands of large number of residents and pilgrims who visit regularly and periodically on auspicious and festive days to the three towns. It is stated on behalf of the Municipal Board that major source of revenue and employment in the three towns is from the continuous inflow of tourists and floating population of pilgrims. Maintenance of clean and congenial atmosphere in all religious places which are spread over all the three towns is in common interest of the residents, pilgrims and visitors. Continuous floating population of pilgrims benefit the inhabitants of the towns by providing them various sources of earning livelihood and employment. Tourists and pilgrims are the major sources of revenue for the Local Municipal Bodies and the inhabitants of the three towns. Geographical situation and peculiar culture of the three towns justify complete restriction on trade and public dealing in non-vegetarian food items including eggs within the municipal limits of the towns. The High Court rightly upheld it to be a reasonable restriction. Trade in all kinds of food items vegetarian or non-vegetarian in adjoining towns and villages outside the municipal limits of three towns remains unrestricted and there is no substantial harm caused to those engaged in such trade.
For the aforesaid reasons, the impugned bye-law notified by Municipal Board Rishikesh cannot be held to be violative of Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution.
Supreme Court of India
Narendra Kumar And Others vs The Union Of India And Others on 3 December, 1959
It is reasonable to think that the makers of the Constitution considered the word restriction " to be sufficiently wide to save laws inconsistent " with Art. 19(1), or " taking away the rights " conferred by the Article, provided this inconsistency or taking away was reasonable in the interests of the different matters mentioned in the clause. There can be no doubt therefore that they intended the word " restriction " to include cases of " prohibition " also. The contention that a law prohibiting the exercise of a fundamental right is in no case saved, cannot therefore be accepted. It is un- doubtedly correct, however, that when, as in the present case, the restriction reaches the stage of prohibition special care has to be taken by the Court to see that the test of reasonableness is satisfied. The greater the restriction, the more the need for strict scrutiny by the Court.
In applying the test of reasonableness, the Court has to consider the question in the background of the facts and circumstances under which the order was made, taking into account the nature of the evil that was sought to be remedied by such law, the ratio of the harm caused to individual citizens by the proposed remedy, to the beneficial effect reasonably expected to result to the general public. It will also be necessary to consider in that connection whether the restraint caused by the law is more than was necessary in the interests of the general public.
The position of the copper trade at the end of March, 1958, within two days of which the impugned order was made is fairly clear. Copper is so largely required by the industries in India for producing various consumer's goods and also sheets and other articles which are needed as raw material in other industries that the position that it is an essential commodity cannot be and has not been disputed. The quantity of copper produced in India is so small as compared with the normal needs of the Industry that for many years the Industry had to depend on imports from abroad. It was apparently because of the importance of this metal for the industries in India that copper was kept for a long time in the Open General List and free import was permitted. When however the foreign exchange position of the country deteriorated and it was felt necessary in the larger interests of the country to conserve foreign exchange as much as possible copper was excluded from the Open General List from July 1, 1957, and it became necessary to obtain a licence before copper could be imported. During the period July to September 1957 licences were granted to both Established importers of coppers as also to actual users not being established importers. During the period October 1957 to March 1958, licences were granted to established importers only. Whatever the motive of such exclusion of actual users might have been, the result was disastrous. Having a practical monopoly of this imported commodity a handful of importers was in a position to dictate terms to consumers and by March 1958 the price of copper in India per ton was Rs. 3,477 as against the international price of Rs. 2,221. It is not disputed that result of the abuse by the importers of the practical monopoly given to them of the copper market seriously affected the interests of the general public in India. Nor is it disputed that it was in an honest effort to protect these interests of the public that the impugned legislation in the form of Non-ferrous Metal Control Order and the subsequent specification of principles was made.
The first evil sought to be remedied by the law being thus the rise in price-which was bound to be reflected in the higher price of the consumers' goods in the production of which copper formed a major ingredient -an order controlling the price would of course be the first obvious step for fighting this evil. Experience has shown however that if nothing else is done it is practically impossible to make the control of price effective. The essential subsidiary step therefore was to introduce a system of permits so that the persons acquiring copper could be known. A system of permits would also be of great help in ensuring that the raw material would go to those industries where it was needed most and distributed in such quantities to several industries in different parts of the country as would procure the greatest benefit to the general public. Clause 3 of the Order fixes a pi-ice while cl. 4 introduces a system of permits for the acquisition of the material., Some fixation of price, being essential to keep prices within reasonable limits, must therefore be held to be a reasonable restriction in the interests of the general public. Was it necessary, however, that the prices should be fixed in such a manner as to eliminate the dealer completely, as has been done in the instant case ? The introduction of a system of permits was also clearly necessary in the interests of the general public. Was it necessary however to specify the principles that would drive the dealer out of business? These questions require careful consideration, for the injury inflicted on the dealer by such elimination is very great and in spite of the presumption of Constitutionality that attaches to every law the Court ought to examine with special care laws which result, as in the present case, in total restraint of rights conferred by the Constitution. That middleman's profits increase the price of goods which the consumer has to pay is axiomatic. It is entirely wrong to think that the middleman gets his profits for nothing and one has to remember that the middleman by forming the distribution channel between the producers and consumers relieves the procedures of the burden of storing goods for a length of time and the risk attendant thereto and relieves the consumers of the trouble and expense of going to the producer who may be and often is a long distance away. It is however in the very nature of things that the middleman has to charge not only as regards the interest on the capital invested by him, and a reasonable remuneration for management but also in respect of the risks undertaken by him-what the economists call the " entrepreneur's risk." These charges often add to a considerable sum. It has therefore been the endeavour at least in modern times for those responsible for social control to keep middlemen's activities to the minimum and to replace them largely by co-operative sale societies of producers and co-operative purchase societies of the consumers. While it is clear that the middleman does perform important services, it is equally clear that the interests of the public would be best secured if these services could be obtained at a price lower than what the middleman would ordinarily charge. If the middleman ceases to function because of the fixation of price at landed cost plus 3 1/2%, the manufacturers who require copper as their raw material will have to establish contacts with importers. This will mean some trouble and inconvenience to them but it is reasonable to think that the saving in the cost of obtaining the raw material would more than compensate them for this. The lower cost of the raw material is also likely to be reflected-in a competitive market-in the lower price of the consumer's goods, of which copper is a raw material, and thus redound to the benefit of the general public. It must therefore be held that cl. 3 of the Order even though it results in the elimination of the dealer from the trade is a reasonable restriction in the interests of the general public. Clause 4 read with the principles specified must also be held for the same reason to be a reasonable restriction.
It was next urged that these principles are discriminatory as between manufacturers and dealers and so violate Art. 14 of the Constitution. Quite clearly the dealers and manufacturers are by these principles placed in different classes and while some manufacturers are eligible for permits dealers are not. It is equally clear however from what has already been said about that the differentia which distinguish dealers as a class from manufacturers placed in the other class have a reasonable connection with the object of the legislation. There is therefore no substance in the contention that the specification of the principles violates Art. 14 of the Constitution. While however cl. 3 of the Order is clearly within the Act, the question whether cl. 4 read with the principles is within the Act or not is not free from difficulty. If the principles had been specified in the Order itself and/or had been notified in the Official Gazette and laid before both the Houses of Parliament in the manner indicated in sub-ss. (5) and (6) of s. 3 of the Act, the regulation by cl. 4 would have been within the Act. These principles were not however mentioned in the Order nor were they notified or laid before both Houses of Parliament in the manner laid down in sub-ss. (5) and (6) of s. 3. The regulation in so far as it is by these principles is therefore not a regulation by an order under s. 3 of the Act but wholly outside it and so would not come within the protection of the saving provisions of cls. 5 and 6 of Art. 19 of the Constitution.
But without the principles, cl. 4 of the Order is not effective. The system of permits which this clause is designed to introduce can come into existence only if the permits can be issued; but permits can be issued only in accordance with the principles laid down by the Central Government. It is not possible to build on the use of the words " may specify " in cl. 4 an argument that so long as no principles are specified the Controller would have authority to issue permits by exercise -of his own judgment and discretion. The words used in cl . 4 do not permit such a construction and compel the conclusion that so long as the principles are not specified by the Central Government no permit can be issued by the Controller. Enforcement of the provision that no person shall acquire or agree to acquire except under a permit, would thus, so long as the principles are not specified in a legal manner as required by sub-ss. (5) and (6) of s. 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, would mean a total stoppage of the Copper trade-not only of the transactions of dealers but of any transaction whatever in imported copper. On the face of it this could not be a reasonable restriction in the interests of the general public. There is no escape therefore from the conclusion that so long as principles are not specified by the Central Government by an Order notified in accordance with sub-s. (5) and laid before both Houses of Parliament in accordance with sub-s. 6 of s. 3 the regulation by cl. 4 as it is now ,Worded is not within the - saying provisions of Arts. 19(5) and 19(6) of the Constitution, and is void as taking away the rights conferred by Arts. 19(1)(f) and 19(1)(g). All that is necessary to make cl. 4 effective is that some principles should be specified, and these notified in the Gazette and laid before the Houses of Parliament. It may be necessary from time to time to specify new principles in view of the changed circumstances; these have again to be notified in the Gazette and laid before the Houses of Parliament, in order to be effective. So long as new principles do not come into operation, by being specified by Government, and thereafter notified in the Gazette and laid before Houses of Parliament, the previous principles last specified, notified in the Gazette and laid before Houses of Parliament, will remain effective. As, however, the principles specified in the letter of the 18th April have not been notified in the Gazete, nor laid before Houses of Parliament, and no principles appear to have been specified before or after that date, cl. 4 of the order, as it now stands, must be struck down as void.
The petitioners are therefore entitled to relief only in respect of cl. 4 of the order. We direct that an order be issued restraining the respondents from enforcing cl. 4 of the Non-ferrous Metal Control Order, so long as principles in accordance with law, are not published in the Official Gazette and laid before the Houses of Parliament in accordance with sub-s. (5) and sub- s. (6) of s. 3 of the Essential Commodities Act. As the petition has succeeded in part and failed in part, we order that the parties will bear their own costs.
Supreme Court of India
Mohd. Hanif Quareshi & Others vs The State Of Bihar(And Connected ... on 23 April, 1958
To summarise: The country is in short supply of milch cattle, breeding bulls and working bullocks. If the nation is to maintain itself in health and nourishment and get adequate food, our cattle must be improved. In order to achieve this objective our cattle population fit for breeding and work must be properly fed and whatever cattle food is now at our disposal and whatever more we can produce must be made available to the useful cattle which are in presenti or will in futuro be capable of yielding milk or doing work. The maintenance of useless cattle involves a wasteful drain on the nation's cattle feed. To maintain them is to deprive the useful cattle of the much needed nourishment. The presence of so many useless animals tends to deteriorate the breed. Total ban on the slaughter of cattle, useful or otherwise, is calculated to bring about a serious dislocation, though not a complete stoppage, of the business of a considerable section of the people who are by occupation butchers (Kasais), hide merchants and so on. Such a ban will also deprive a large section of the people of what may be their staple food. At any rate, they will have to forego the little protein food which may be within their means to take once or twice in the week. Preservation of useless cattle by establishment of Gosadans is not, for reasons already indicated, a practical proposition. Preservation of these useless animals by sending them to concentration camps to fend for themselves is to leave them to a process of slow death and does no good to them. On the contrary, it hurts the best interests of the nation in that the useless cattle deprive the useful ones of a good part of the cattle food, deteriorate the breed and eventually affect the production of milk and breeding bulls and working bullocks, besides involving an enormous expense which could be better utilised for more urgent national needs.
We are not unmindful of the fact that beef and buffalo flesh from calves under one year of age. heifers and young castrated stock yielding meat of a superior quality fetch comparatively higher prices in the market and, therefore, the tendency of the butchers naturally is to slaughter young calves. This circumstance clearly warns us that calves, heifers and young castrated stock (cattle and buffalo) which will in future supply us milk and power for purposes of agriculture require protection. We also do not fail to bear in mind that for very good and cogent reasons cows also require protection. Cows give us milk and her progeny for future service. Unfortunately, however, the average milk yield of a cow, as already stated, is very much less than that of a she-buffalo. As the Gosamvardhan Enquiry Committee's Report points out, despite all the veneration professed for the cow, when it comes to the question of feeding, the she-buffalo always receives favoured treatment and the cow has to be satisfied with whatever remains after feeding the she-buffaloes, bullocks, and calves in order of priority. The growth of cities and heavy demand for milk in the urban areas have contributed to the slaughter of good stock. For want of space no freshly calved animal can be brought in without getting rid of one that had gone dry. Salvage facilities not being available or, if available, being uneconomical, the professional gowalas, who are mostly, if not wholly, Hindus, find it uneconomical to maintain the cow after she goes dry and consequently sell her to the butcher for slaughter at Rs. 30 to Rs. 50 per head, irrespective of her age and potential productivity, and import a fresh cow. The veneration professed for the sanctity attached to the cow does not prevent them from doing so. In big towns the municipal regulations are stringent and slaughter is permitted only of unserviceable and unproductive animals. Instances are not uncommon, however, that to get an animal passed for slaughter, the teeth or the rings round the horns of the animal are tampered with and sometimes a cow is even maimed in order that she may be passed by the veterinary inspector as fit for slaughter. Cows, which are rejected by the inspector, are taken out of the limits of the cities and slaughtered in the rural areas. As slaughter is not confined to registered slaughter houses, the number of useful animals which are slaughtered cannot be given accurately. It is estimated in the Report of the Expert Committee at p. 2 that at least 50,000 high yielding cows and she-buffaloes from cities of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras alone are sent annually for permature slaughter and are lost to the country. The causes of slaughter of useful cattle are enumerated at pp. 2, 3, and 9 of that Report, namely, lack of space in the cities and suburban areas, long dry period, want of arrangement for breeding bulls at the proper time, the anxiety to get as much milk out of the cow as possible, -the high cost of maintenance of cows in the cities and the difficulties in the matter of obtaining adequate fodder. For these reasons many animals are sent to the slaughter houses through sheer economic pressure and are replaced by fresh animals imported from breeding areas. The danger of such premature slaughter is greater for the cow, for being an animal with a scanty yield of milk it does not pay the owner to maintain her through the long dry period and hence there is an inducement for adopting even cruel practices to get her passed by the inspectors. But a dry she-buffalo is well worth preserving and maintaining in expectation of rich return at the next lactation. Besides, buffaloes for slaughter will not fetch as good a price as cows would do. Likewise there will not be much inducement to the agriculturist or other owner to part with the breeding bulls or working bullocks (cattle and. buffalo) as long as they are serviceable. For their sheer usefulness and their high market value as breeding or working animals the breeding bulls and working bullocks, as long as they are fit, are, to the agriculturists, worth more than the price of their flesh in gold. There can hardly be any inducement for maiming valuable animals which, as breeding bulls or working animals, can at any time fetch from the agriculturists a price higher than what the maimed ones will fetch from the butchers. The breeding bulls and working bullocks (cattle and buffaloes) do not, therefore, require as much protection as cows and calves do.
The next question is as to what should be the scope of the ban on the slaughter of animals. One view is that the slaughter of all animals (cattle and buffaloes) of all categories should be regulated by the State and that animals below a specified age or not suffering from some natural deformity should not be allowed to be slaughtered. Drastic and stringent regulations have been imposed by municipal laws and have been tried but experience shows that they are not sufficient at least to protect the cow. It has been found to be extremely difficult to enforce the regulations for inadequacy of staff and veterinary inspectors, little or no check on the veterinary inspectors who succumb to the pressure or inducements of the butchers and pass animals not really useless as and for useless and aged animals. A large percentage of the animals not fit for slaughter are slaughtered surreptitiously outside the municipal limits. For reasons of economy rapacious gowalas or callous agriculturists find it uneconomical to maintain the dry cow and even resort to cruel practices and maim the cow in order to get her passed for slaughter. As already stated, the she-buffalo and the breeding bulls and working bullocks (both cattle and buffaloes) for their value, present and future, do not ruin the same amount of danger as a dry cow does. Regulation of slaughter of animals above a specified age may not be quite adequate protection for the cow but may be quite sufficient for the breeding bulls and working bullocks and the she-buffaloes. These considerations induce us to make an exception even in favour of the old and decrepit cows. The counsel for the petitioners, be it said to their credit, did not contend otherwise. After giving our most careful and anxious consideration to the pros and cons of the problem as indicated and discussed above and keeping in view the presumption in favour of the validity of the legislation and without any the least disrespect to the opinions of the legislatures concerned we feel that in discharging the ultimate responsibility cast on us by the Constitution we must approach and analyse the problem in an objective and realistic manner and then make our pronouncement on the reasonableness of the restrictions imposed by the impugned enactments. So approaching and analysing the problem, we have reached the conclusion (i) that a total ban on the slaughter of cows of all ages and calves of cows and calves of she-buffaloes, male and female, is quite reasonable and valid and is in consonance with the directive principles laid down in Art. 48, (ii) that a total ban on the slaughter of she-buffaloes or breeding bulls or working bullocks (cattle as well as buffaloes) as long as they are as milch or draught cattle is also reasonable and valid and (iii) that a total ban on the slaughter of she- buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle or buffalo) after they cease to be capable of yielding milk or of breeding or working as draught animals cannot be supported as reasonable in the interest of the general public.
We now proceed to test each of the impugned Acts in the light of the aforesaid conclusions we have arrived at The Bihar Act, in so far as it prohibits the slaughter of cows of all ages and calves of cows and calves of buffaloes, male and female, is valid. The Bihar Act makes no distinction between she-buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle and buffaloes) which are useful as milch or breeding or draught animals and those which are not and indiscriminately prohibits slaughter of she-buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle and buffalo) irrespective of their age or usefulness. In our view the ban on slaughter of she-buffaloes, breeding bulls and working bullocks (cattle. and buffalo) which are useful is reasonable but of those which are not useful is not valid. The question as to when a she-buffalo, breeding bull or working bullock (cattle and buffalo) ceases to be useful and becomes useless and unserviceable is a matter for legislative determination. There is no provision in the Bihar Act in that behalf. Nor has our attention been drawn to any rule which may throw any light on the point. It is, therefore, not possible to apply the doctrine of severability and uphold the ban on the slaughter of she- buffaloes, breeding bulls and working bullocks (cattle and buffalo) which are useful as milch or breeding or working animals and strike down the ban on the slaughter of those which are useless. The entire provision banning the slaughter of she-buffaloes, breeding bulls, and working bullocks (cattle and buffalo) has, therefore, to be struck down. The result is that we uphold and declare that the Bihar Act in so far as it prohibits the slaughter of cows of all ages and calves of cows and calves of buffaloes, male and female, is constitutionally valid and we hold that, in so far as it totally prohibits the slaughter of she- buffaloes, breeding bulls and working bullocks (cattle and buffalo), without prescribing any test or requirement as to their age or usefulness, it infringes the rights of the petitioners under Art. 19 (1) (g) and is to that extent void.
As regards the U. P. Act we uphold and declare, for reasons already stated, that it is constitutionally valid in so far as it prohibits the slaughter of cows of all ages and calves of cows, male and female, but we hold that in so far as it purports to totally prohibit the slaughter of breeding bulls and working bullocks without prescribing any test or requirement as to their age or usefulness, it offends against Art. 19 (1) (g) and is to that extent void.
As regards the Madhya Pradesh Act we likewise declare that it is constitutionally valid in so far as it prohibits the slaughter of cows of all ages and calves of cows, male and female, but that it is void in so far as it totally prohibits the slaughter of breeding bulls and working- bullocks without prescribing any test or requirement as to their age or usefulness. We also hold that the Act is valid in so far as it regulates the slaughter of other animals under certificates granted by the authorities mentioned therein.
In the premises we direct the respondent States not to enforce their respective Acts in so far as they have just been declared void by us