The Supreme Court on February 20 upheld the Karnataka High Court's decision dismissing a first information report filed under the state’s Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act because a sample of beef on which the case was based had been seized by an unauthorised person.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan dismissed an appeal by a person claiming to be an “honorary animal welfare officer”.

The petitioner told the court that he had informed the assistant director of the veterinary department about alleged beef samples being stored in the godown of an establishment of the respondent. He said that after DNA analysis, the sample was found to be beef.

However, the bench cited Section 10 of the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act to say that the assistant director of the Veterinary Department was only authorised to enter and inspect the premises. However, in this matter, the officer not only collected the sample of meat but also sent it for analysis, which was “completely illegal”, according to the court.

“It is this sample which was sent for chemical analysis,” said the bench. “Thus, the entire case of the prosecution is based on unauthorisedly and illegally collected samples of the meat. Therefore, the High Court was right when it interfered by quashing the first information report.”