Tripura HC bans state-sponsored goat sacrifice at Tripureswari temple
- Tripura high court on Friday ordered a complete ban on animal sacrifice at Hindu temples
- However, the HC said devotees could still offer an animal to a temple without it being slaughtered
The state government had cited the terms and conditions of the merger agreement with the Indian dominion which prescribed that the government would worship Mata Tripureswari and other temples in the traditional way. “Since such practice (animal sacrifice) was followed prior to independence, from the regime of the maharaja, and domestic animal sacrifice is an integral part of the worship, it is still continued and cannot be stopped,” it had argued.
The state had also faulted the PIL petition by advocate Subhas Bhattacharjee for confining the plea for ban on animal sacrifice in Hindu temples and “not laid any challenge to the practice of animal sacrifice by the Muslim community during the festival of Bakri Eid”. The state had alleged that the petition was meant only to hurt Hindu sentiment and presumably by politically motivated anti-Hindu elements with a view to disturb public order.
In its 72-page judgment, a bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Arindam Lodh said, “The role of government in regular activities of Tripureswari temple as other temples is limited, and aiding the temple with funds to sacrifice one goat each day from government money does not fall within the ambit of secular activity as provided under Article 25(2)(a) of the Constitution.
“It is the duty of the state to bring changes by eradicating all ill practices to bring reforms in society. Instead of participating in such practices, the state should enact a law banning slaughter of animals at temples as it runs against public order, morality and health.”
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Karol said, “Unless it being essential, sacrifice of an animal for religion cannot be considered to be a moral act. All religions call for compassion and no religion requires killing. Sacrifice of animal in the temple with which we are concerned is seriously morally wrong, for it is an act of illegally taking away of life.”
He added, “No person including the state shall be allowed to sacrifice any animal/bird within the precincts of any one of the temples of state of Tripura.”
However, the HC said devotees could still offer an animal to a temple without it being slaughtered. “Any devotee desirous of offering any animal out of personal faith, belief or desire may do so, but shall take back the animal and under no circumstances any activity of animal sacrifice shall be permitted to be carried out. Prudently, the government can earmark land for opening shelter home for rearing such livestock (offered to temples),” it said and directed the superintendents of police in each district and the state chief secretary to strictly implement the order by installing CCTV cameras in temples of Tripura where animal sacrifices are carried out.