The controversial Bill to bring about a blanket ban on slaughter of milch animals and draught cattle received approval of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly amidst stiff resistance put up by the Opposition.

The Bill was passed by voice vote in the House after a five-hour discussion when members of the Opposition suggested that it be withdrawn, while members of the ruling party appreciated it in the interest of preserving the rich cattle wealth of the State.

The ruling BJP Government has brought forth the Bill, as made out by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and Minister for Home V.S. Acharya on three counts — to ensure that the ban on cattle slaughter is in consonance with the provisions of Article 48 of the Constitution, the various orders of the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court, and to fulfil the promise in the election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party during the run-up to the Legislative Assembly elections in May 2008.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said the State Government had not brought forth the legislation to put down the interests of any community or section of the people. “There are similar legislation in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and several other States. Our larger aim is to save the cattle wealth for the benefit of the farming community and the people. It should be noted that even the former Prime Minister, the late Indira Gandhi, had written to all State governments in 1982 suggesting a total ban on slaughter of cattle. Severe penalties have been incorporated in the legislation only to ensure an effective enforcement”.

The Home Minister, who headed a three-member Cabinet subcommittee which went into all aspects of the prevailing legislation, the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act of 1964, and thereafter drafted the new legislation, Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2010, said the new Bill had been brought about following the demand from a large section of the people. “There is nothing political. We had brought forth certain amendments to the earlier Act in the Belgaum session of the legislature and thereafter withdrew it only to bring forth a more comprehensive legislation.”

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, Deputy Leader T.B. Jayachandra, and senior member V. Srinivasa Prasad, who spoke at length against the Bill, said there was nothing comprehensive in the new legislation and the earlier law, which had stood the test for nearly 50 years should suffice. If need be, the Government could have always brought forth some amendments to the earlier Act, rather than bring forth “a draconian measure”.

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