Prelims level : Polity / Governance – Social Issues Mains level : GS II Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
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  • Use of the National Security Act (NSA) in the cases of suspected cow slaughter was wrong and would not be repeated.

Cow Vigilantism:

  • Self-proclaimed ‘Gau Rakshaks’ attacking people under the pretext of carrying beef with the slightest doubt.
  • Justification of such actions on pretext of implementing Article 48 of Directive Principle of State Policy (DPSP) -“State shall organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern scientific lines; take steps to preserve and improve breeds and prohibit slaughter of cows, calves and other mulch and draught animals.
  • Animal husbandry is a State subject and several states made laws of varying degrees. Supreme Court in Mohd Qureshi vs State of Bihar, 1958 upheld the ban taking into account the economical conditions stating that there should not be any slaughter of useful cattle. Moreover, in 2005 Supreme Court ruled that all the cattle are useful.
  • In May 2017, the Central Government brought out a notification that no cattle can be traded for slaughter in the market.
  • Recently, PM voiced his opinion at the difference between cow protection and cow vigilantism. He remarked that 70-80 percent of Gau Rakshaks are anti-social and are taking laws into their hands.

National Security Act

  • The National Security Act of 1980 is an act of the Indian Parliament whose purpose is “to provide for preventive detention in certain cases and for matters connected therewith”. Theact extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It was passed during the Charan Singh Government.
  • This act empowers the Central Government and State Governments to detain a person to prevent him/her from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of India, the relations of India with foreign countries, the maintenance of public order, or the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do.
  • The act also gives power to the governments to detain a foreigner in a view to regulate his presence or expel from the country.
  • The other enactments relating to national security are the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, the Official Secrets Act, 1923, Chapters 6 and 7 of the Indian Penal Code etc.
  • India had a long history of preventive detention laws like the Defence of India Act of 1858, The Government of India Act of 1935, the Preventive Detention Act of 1950, the Maintenance of Internal Security Act in 1971 and the NSA in 1980.
  • The only period in the Indian “republic without any preventive detention law was the three- year period, beginning with the repeal of MISA in 1977 to the promulgation of the NSA in 1980.
  • The maximum period of detention is 12 months, but the detention should be reported to the State Government along with the grounds on which the order has been made. No such order shall remain in force for more than twelve days unless approved by the State Government.
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