The Punjab and Haryana High Court in Mohd. Aslam Vs. State of Haryana has ordered premature release of six people who were convicted for cow slaughter in Yamunanagar with the condition that they donate Rs 9,000 each to a specific gaushala in Panipat.
A single bench headed by Justice Hari Pal Verma passed these orders on May 13 while hearing a revision petition filed by Mohammed Aslam, Mohammed Akhlak, Gulzar, Mohammed Arshad, Mohammed Gulfan and Mohammed Istakar.
“In these circumstances, it is directed that the sentence awarded to the petitioners shall be reduced to the period already undergone by them subject to their payment of cost of Rs 9,000 each being deposited at Govind Gaushala GT Road, Panipat. The petitioners be released forthwith, if not required in any other case after payment of cost as well as the fine, if not paid so far”.
The court held.
# Punjab and Haryana High Court
The accused were booked on April 21, 2008, under the Punjab Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955, after they were held with 20 oxen which were being taken from Haryana to Uttar Pradesh for slaughtering.
On February 4, 2013, a local court sentenced them to simple imprisonment of six months and a fine of Rs 1,000 each. An appeal against the order was dismissed by the court of additional sessions judge of Yamunanagr on February 18 this year.
The accused were in jail for about three months when they appealed in the high court. They restricted their plea to the quantum of the jail term. They demanded that the sentence be reduced to the period already undergone. It was also submitted that there was no other case against them.
The government counsel was against any leniency, stating that the men had committed a serious crime and hurt the religious sentiments of people at large.
The court clarified that the fine imposed by the trial court remained intact.
In March 2015, the Haryana assembly unanimously passed one of the most stringent Acts against cow slaughter – the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act – which included rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.
However the Court has created a different sort of precedent where men accused of cow slaughter can become eligible for premature release from jail by donating money to a gaushala.