The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Madhya Pradesh government's efforts to ban cow slaughter and conserve the “cow progeny” have received a shot in the arm following Presidential assent to the long-pending Madhya Pradesh Gau-Vansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) Vidheyak (Madhya Pradesh prohibition of slaughter of cow-progeny (amendment) Bill).

The amended Act puts the responsibility of proving the prosecution wrong on the accused in a cow slaughter case. A person found guilty of cow slaughter would be liable for 7 years imprisonment, instead of the present 3 years, besides a minimum fine of Rs. 5,000.

The government had passed the amendment Bill in the Assembly in 2010 to “strengthen” the existing cow slaughter prohibition Act (Madhya Pradesh Gauvansh Pratishedh Adhiniyam 2004) and forwarded it to the Union Home Ministry on September 3, 2010.

It received the Presidential assent on December 22, 2011 and was published in the Madhya Pradesh gazette (extraordinary) on December 31, 2011. The Act will soon come into force through an official notification.

The amended Act provides that no person “shall slaughter” or “cause to slaughter” or “offer for slaughter” any cow progeny by any means.

Besides, no person, including a transporter, shall transport or offer to transport or cause to be transported any cow progeny, either by himself or through an agent, servant or any other person acting on his behalf, within the State or outside it, with the knowledge that the calf would be or was likely to be slaughtered. The Act provides that any police officer not below the rank of head constable or anyone authorised by a competent authority shall have the power of entry, inspection, search and seizure and to present the case in the court.