The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that while it is against "cow vigilantism by private persons", any action against such people has to be taken by States and not the Centre.
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra was hearing three public interest litigation cases challenging certain laws that shield vigilante cow protection groups in the country.
The court directed the Centre to file an affidavit in four weeks while asking it to explain what it proposes to do to control the menace of cow vigilantism. The court also directed states which are before the SC also to file an affidavit in this regard.
The court had intervened in the ongoing controversy over cow protection and sought responses from the Centre and six states on the issue within three weeks in April.
Neither the Centre nor have States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra filed any written response to the court's repeated orders to them do so. "Why is there no response from the Centre or the States?” senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, for one of the petitioners, asked in court.
"It is a State subject. Union of India has no role to play,” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, for the Centre, replied to the court when asked why the Centre has failed to file its response.
The six states are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Except for Congress-ruled Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power in these states.