HC: Possession of dead animal skin is not an offense under MAPA

Possession of the skin of a dead animal will not be an offense under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act 1976 (MAPA), Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court said when quashing of an FIR against a man for possession of dead cow hides.

MAPA prohibits the slaughter, purchase, sale, import, export and possession of beef. A divisional bench of judges VM Deshpande and AS Kilor passed the order on December 14 while hearing a motion filed by Shafiqullaha Khan Ashfaqullha Khan to quash a July 2018 case filed against him under the provisions of MAPA for alleged possession of 187 cowhides in a van he was driving.

The FIR against Mr Khan was registered at Shivaji Nagar police station in Buldhana district.

Mr. Khan was convicted under Sections 5A (prohibition on transporting a cow, bull or ox into the State for the purpose of slaughter), 5B (prohibition on transporting such animals out of the State for slaughter) and 5C (prohibition of possession of cow, bull or beef).

The bench in its order said the provisions of the law prohibited the buying and selling of cows, bulls or oxen for slaughter and the possession of flesh from any cow, bull or ox.

“There is no allegation that the applicant was transporting or exporting a cow, bull or ox for slaughter. Nor are there any allegations that the plaintiff bought or sold or otherwise disposed of or offered to buy or sell or dispose of any cow, bull or ox for slaughter” , the court said. She added that there was therefore no offense against Mr. Khan.

“There is no doubt that the skin is not covered by the provisions of MAPA. Thus, there is no prohibition on possession of dead animal skins,” the court said, quashing the FIR.

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