Draft law proposing up to 7-year jail awaits Raje’s nod

Concerned over the falling numbers of camels in the State, the Rajasthan government is all set to ban the slaughter and trafficking of the ‘ship of the desert’.

The proposed law, which prescribes punishment up to seven years for camel slaughter, is on the lines of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995.

The new bill, seeking to prohibit slaughter and regulate temporary migration or export of camels, drafted by the Department of Animal Husbandry is expected to be tabled before the Cabinet soon.

The draft has been cleared by the Law Department and awaits Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s approval before it is tabled in the Cabinet. While killing of camels will attract imprisonment up to seven years, illegal transportation for slaughter can result in punishment from six months to three years, and seizure of the vehicle.

Fall in numbers

There has been a sharp decline in the number of camels, particularly females, in the recent past as these are transported to neighbouring states such as Uttar Pradesh for slaughter. The camel is a common means of transportation for the local population in the Thar desert.

The laws governing cattle slaughter vary from State to State. The “preservation, protection and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases, veterinary training and practice” is Entry 15 of the State List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, meaning that State legislatures have exclusive powers to legislate the prevention of slaughter and preservation of cattle.

Some States allow the slaughter of cattle with restrictions like “fit for slaughter” certificate depending on age and gender of cattle, and its continued economic viability. At present, 24 States in India have banned cow slaughter though Kerala allows it.