Law and Ecological Conflicts: The Case of the Sacred Cow in India
National Law School of India University
105 - 121 p.
Ecological Conflicts, Sacred Cow, India
The status of the cow in India has not only been the object of academic debates, but also of fierce and impassionate legislative and judicial battles. These disputes have notably crystalized over the admissibility of ritual sacrifice of cows by Muslim practitioners for the holiday of Bakr-Id, with the issue reaching the courts on several occasions. This paper explores the terms of this legal debate, and the solutions that have been progressively adopted by the legislative and judicial institutions after the independence. Particular attention will be paid to the processes involved in the apprehension of the religious justification of this practice by the judiciary. Eventually, the Indian legal system has failed at acknowledging the importance and the complexity of the Muslim minority’s ecological beliefs and traditions in this long-standing dispute.