Animals Right: What is Article 48 of the Constitution of India? And how is it interrelated with Article 21

LJCS: Legal Journal for Contemporary Society


Law is a weapon for guiding and shaping the social occurrence to alter the menaces in society. The relationship between law and society is diverse, and both are dependent on each other. In this article, it shows the importance of organising agriculture and animal husbandry.

Constitution of India is the supreme law of India that lays down the rights and duties, the Directive principle of state policy, and powers of a governmental institution.[1] In the 20th century, the Indian Constitution was dynamic and constantly evolving with changing times. The Indian Constitution recognises animal life’s sanctity and safeguards animal protection as a fundamental duty of its citizens. India’s constitutional framework plays an important role under Article 48 and Article 21, i.e., agriculture and animal husbandry and are relevant to animal welfare.


1. To make availability of price realisation for the producer.

2. To make availability for quality of dairy products for the domestic consumers.

3. To fulfil the objective of protein-enriched food for the country and prevent malnutrition among India’s people.

4. To develop employment and entrepreneurship in India.

5. To promote export in the contribution of dairy products.

6. To make the animals available to feed the cattle, buffalos, sheep, goat, pig and poultry for a balanced ecosystem.

7. To increase the capacity and product diversification for dairy products.

Article 48 of the Indian Constitution

Article 48 comes under Part IV of India’s Constitution, dealing with the Directive Principle of State Policy (DPSP). Thus, DPSP is guiding principles, and they are not enforceable of law. Article 48, maintains on the ground of cattle and cow laughter purely on economic and constitutional reasons. Cattle slaughter, especially cow slaughter is a contentious issue in India because of the sacred beliefs to Hindus, Jains, Zoroastrian, and Buddhist.

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution

“Protection of life and personal liberty, and no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.”

Concerning the animal rights, Supreme Court of India has brought some animal rights under the ambit of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution within the purview in the case of Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraj & Ors.


In the State of Tamil Nadu, Jallikattu is a traditional sport, i.e. where a bull is released in the crowd of thousands of people, then attempt to grab onto the hump on the bull’s back and hang on it while the bull attempts to escape. Through this sport, several human death is involved over the years. Before the bulls are released, they beat with sharp sticks; their tail is bent to an extreme length. Many reports of the bulls being forced to drink alcohol and chilli peppers are put on their eyes for disorientation. The bull’s square measure injured by knives and sticks, punched, jumped on and dragged to the bottom throughout the event.

Thus a case was filed in the Supreme Court of India by Animal Welfare Community in 2010 to ban Jallikattu due to the cruelty that occurs to animals. The sport was banned in 2011 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests which issued the notice for banning bulls in the sports. Thus, this practice was continued to be held under certain conditions under the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act (2007).

This case was associate attractiveness filed by the AWBI against a tribunal call permitting Jallikattu to be conducted upon compliance with the province Act. The AWBI sought-after to enforce the government notification exclusion bulls from being exhibited or being trained as acting animals.


The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Animal Welfare Board of India and upheld the ban on Jallikattu. It held that Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution is the “Magna Carta of animal rights” and observations to safeguard the “life” of animals under Article 21.

Right to Life of Animals

The Right to life of Animals concerning Article 21 states that every species has a right to life and personal security. It also safeguards humans’ rights, protects the life of every living being it does not sum up with the life of only human beings, but it also relates to having a right to living beings. As animals are concerned, life relates to something more than mere survival or existence or instrumental value for living beings, but to lead a life with some intrinsic worth, honour and dignity.

LJCS: Legal Journal for Contemporary Society

Government Approach towards Cow Slaughtering[2]

The Environmental ministry released the Press Information Bureau on ‘Rules on prevention of cruelty to animals to ensure the welfare of Animals & Protect Animals from Cruelty.’

The rule’s basic purpose is to ensure animal welfare on the cattle marketing and provide adequate feeding, fed processing, water supply, veterinary care, sick animal enclosure, et al. The following committees are set up to promote:

• District Animal Monitoring Committee for registration of animal;

• Animal Market Committee for management of the market at the level of the local authority

The main motive of the government is on protecting animals from cruelty and not regulating cattle trade. Thus, India’s ban states that only 30% of beef is used for consumption, and 70% is used for trading in Industries. The ban on cattle and the cow would not benefit our country because the impact of export and import would be dissent.

Interplay Between Article 48 and 21 of the Indian Constitution[3]

The DPSP aims to establish a welfare society and the guidelines stated under DPSP should be considered while making such a restriction. Thus, the prohibition of the slaughter of cows, bulls, and bullocks to enable the public to have a sufficient supply of milk and ensure the availability of draught cattle for agriculture was held reasonable under Article 19(6) in view of the directive principles that consider under Article 47 and 48.

The purview of cow slaughter legislation has the power to regulate the matter under each state. The DPSP has contained in Article 48 of the Indian Constitution most states have enacted laws in one or other form, relating to the prohibition on the slaughter of the cow and progeny.

The slaughter of cows that is banned not the consumption of beef. It states that the Right to privacy and Right to eat is violated, stating that one has a right to choose to eat. The Supreme Court has held that Right to eat is a fundamental right to “personal liberty” under Article 21. In Re Ramlila Maidan Incident Justice B.S. Chauhan held that the Right to privacy and Right to sleep has always been considered under fundamental Right.

Similarly, in Hinsa Virodhik Sangh v. Mirzapur Moti Kuresh Jamat, the Supreme Court held that many people are non-vegetarian and cannot be compelled to become a vegetarian. It mentions that one has a personal choice, and it is a right to privacy included in Article 21 of our Constitution.

LJCS: Legal Journal for Contemporary Society


India is a democratic country, and it has a bunch of cultures, traditions and cuisines. It is a welfare society, and its traditions are the foremost priority for Indians, and it varies from state to state. In the Judgment of Mohammed Abdul Faheem Qureshi v. Union of India 2017, the petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rule, 2017. In this appeal, petitioner claimed that the notice was against religious practice’s freedom to sacrifice animals and impose a ban on an animal’s slaughter for food that infringes the Right to freedom of religious and personal freedom guaranteed by India’s Constitution.

The ban on cow slaughter can be done but not on beef consumption because a person’s Right to eat cannot be violated under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. There is a lack of uniformity in the state laws; in some states, cow slaughter is considered an injury to the people’s religious beliefs, and beef consumption is a part of the staple diet. Thus, the government should take necessary precautions for the slaughter of cow and consumption of beef.

- Kopal Khanna,
LL.B. Student,
Savitribai Phule Pune University


[1] Dr. Dharmendra Kumar Singh, International Journal of Advanced Research (SSN: 2320-5407)

[2] AMRITANANDA CHAKRAVORTY, The March of Prohibition Continues, The Hindu, MAY 23, 2018.

[3] Dr. Dharmendra Kumar Singh, International Journal of Advanced Research (SSN: 2320-5407)

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