A petition has been filed before the Supreme Court against an order of the Kerala High Court which prohibits ‘animal sacrifice for appeasement of deity’ in temples. The petitioner Gopalkrishnan, a Shakthi worshiper, claimed that animal sacrifice is an integral part of his religious practice mandated by various religious texts and scriptures followed by them and therefore, be permitted. The advocate A Karthik said “In Shakthi worship as per its scriptures and practices popularly known as ‘pramanas’, animal sacrifice is essential and unavoidable for the propitiation of the deity”. It was submitted that Kerala Animals and Bird Sacrifices Prohibition Act violates Article 14 i.e. right to equality because identical practices by other religious communities are not prohibited by the Act and also violates articles 25 and 26 which gives right to practise religion and manage religious affairs. The Act was earlier challenged on June 16 before Kerala High Court. The Act bans and also criminalises sacrificing of animals and birds in temples. 

It was further stated that the Act only penalises animal sacrifice for deities and does not prohibit personal consumption within temples. The petition states “If the object of the law were to ensure prevention and protection of animals, it would demand its uniform application across all religious communities”. The petition also highlighted the central law i.e Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act which specifically prohibits ritually sacrificing animals in Hindu temples throughout India. The plea added “Kerala Animals and Birds Sacrifices Prohibition Act is repugnant to the provisions of PCA Act insofar as the Act operates in the same entry and criminalises an act which the Union Legislation chooses explicitly not to criminalise”.

Source: Hindustan times

(By- Durga Bhatt)