File picture: Mike Groll

New Delhi -

A court in India's southern state of Kerala has settled a legal dispute between two women over the ownership of a cow after conducting DNA tests, a news report said on Thursday.

A woman called Geetha alleged that her cow was stolen by another woman named as Sasilekha in a nearby village two years ago. Geetha filed a police complaint and the case went to court.

The court in Kollam city ordered DNA tests after Geetha said one of her other cattle was the mother of the disputed cow, and could prove she was the original owner.

The tests showed that the DNA of the cows did not match and the court on Wednesday gave Sasilekha possession of the bovine, the Hindustan Times daily reported.

“It is a rare case. Perhaps, the first time a DNA test was held on a cow to find out its real owner,” N Chandra Babu, the lawyer for Sasilekha said.

He said he was planning to seek compensation from Geetha for “undue mental agony” inflicted on his client.

Many families in India are farmers who earn their livelihood through cattle-breeding.

Cows are also held sacred in the predominantly Hindu nation. - Sapa-dpa