The Jammu and Kashmir High Court ban on the sale of beef hogged the news headlines with few realising that it was only the reiteration of an over 150-year-old law. Because of its special status, the state has two penal codes, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), both of which have almost all sections in common except for a few.
Under section 298A of the RPC, intentionally killing or slaughtering a cow or similar animal (including ox and buffalo) is a cognizable, non-bailable offense punishable with 10 years imprisonment and fine. Under section 298B, possessing the flesh of such an animal is a cognizable, non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment of one year and fine. The RPC was enacted in 1862 by the then Dogra Maharaja of the State while the IPC also came into force in India the same year.(Ban on Beef in Maharashtra: 5 Years Jail, Rs.10,000 Fine for Sale & Possession)
A division bench of the high court comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal directed the director general of police (DGP) on Wednesday to ensure strict compliance of the order on beef by issuing appropriate directions to all the senior superintendents (SSPs) and station house officers (SHOs) in the state.
The bench was hearing a public suit filed before it.