Just days after a Rajasthan High Court said that the cow should be declared the national animal, it has emerged that a Hyderabad high court judge called the cow a “sacred national wealth” which is a “substitute to Mother and God”, The Times of India reported on Friday.

After dismissing the plea of a cattle trader, from whom 63 cows and two bulls were seized, Hyderabad High Court Judge Justice B Siva Sankara Rao quoted from a Supreme Court order and said that it is a settled legal position that Muslims do not have the fundamental right to insist on the slaughter of healthy cows on the occasion of Bakr-Eid.

The judge also said vets from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh drive healthy cows to slaughter houses by given them false certificates saying they are unfit for producing milk. These, the judge said, should be penalised under the AP Cow Slaughter Act, 1977. In Andhra and Telangana, cows can be slaughtered if they are certified to be old and unproductive. He also called for an amendment to the act, asking for such offences to be made non-bailable and cognisable.

A cattle trader Ramavath Hanuma had moved the high court after 65 of his cattle were seized from him. Hanuma had insisted that he had brought the cattle to Kanchanapalli village for grazing, from where they were seized. The prosecution, however, alleged that Hanuma, along with others, had bought the cattle from farmers for slaughtering them and intended to distribute cow meat during the festival.

Justice Rao dismissed Hanuma’s plea, saying there was no need to interfere in the trial court’s order.

“Whether a person is entitled to claim interim custody of cows and bulls seized from him when he was allegedly taking them to a slaughter house...This question needs to be posed and answered in view of the national importance of cows which are substitutes to Mother and God,” Justice Rao said in his order. The order is believed to have been passed by the High Court much earlier, on March 1.