New Bill seeks to ban slaughter of all cattle; has stringent penal provisions

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj K.S. Eshwarappa performing puja to a cow in front of Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.  

The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, which was adopted by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, seeks to ban slaughtering of all cattle, including cow, calf, and even bull. With respect to he/she buffalo, it seeks to ban their slaughter if the animals are below 13 years of age.

The violation of the legislation, on conviction, would attract imprisonment ranging from three years to seven years with a fine not less than ₹50,000 per cattle and may be extended up to ₹7 lakh or both. In the case of second and subsequent offence, it will be a fine not lesser than ₹1 lakh that may be extended to ₹10 lakh along with imprisonment, which may be extended to seven years.

The Bill, piloted by Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister Prabhu Chauhan, makes even selling/disposing the cattle for slaughtering or intentionally killing the cattle an offence. If the accused is convicted, then the court can forfeit the confiscated cattle, vehicle, premises, and material on behalf of the State government.

The government can appoint a tahsildar or officer not below the rank of veterinary officer of the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department as competent authority to look into various issues related to slaughtering under the proposed legislation.

The Bill allows police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector or competent authority to visit the premises where suspicious slaughtering is taking place. He can seize the premises, cattle and materials.

He has to make a report before the sub-divisional magistrate who can order confiscation of the property, if convicted. The sub-divisional magistrate is also allowed to sell the confiscated property through public auction, if need be. However, the cattle are not supposed to be sold or returned to the owner in such cases. The Bill prescribes that they be handed over to cow shelters recognised by the government.

The Bill also provides for constitution of special courts for the speedy disposal of disputes under the proposed legislation. Interstate transport of cattle is banned without prior permission from the competent authority.

The Bill has exempted cattle operated for vaccine lymph, serum, or any experimental or research purpose at any government or recognised institute from its provisions.

It has also allowed slaughter if it is certified by a veterinary officer as being necessary in the interest of public health and in the case where the cattle is suffering from any disease which is certified by veterinary officer as contagious and dangerous to other cattle.

Similarly, the slaughter of terminally-ill cattle and buffalo which is above the age of 13 will be allowed upon certification by veterinary officer.

‘Acting in good faith’

Interestingly, the new Bill seeks to protect persons acting in good faith to prevent cow slaughter.

It says that no suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall be initiated against the competent authority or any person exercising powers under this legislation in “good faith”.

BJP leaders offer ‘cow puja’ in front of Vidhana Soudha

The ruling BJP legislators and Ministers offered puja to a cow in front of the Vidhana Soudha when the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, was adopted in the Assembly on Wednesday.

BJP national general secretary C.T. Ravi, senior minister K.S. Eshwarappa, and Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chauhan were among those who offered the puja.

Also, soon after tabling of the Bill, all the BJP members, including Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, came to the Assembly sporting a saffron shawl to express solidarity with the spirit of the Bill.

When Opposition Congress member H.K. Patil raised objection to saffron shawls in the Assembly, Speaker Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri overruled the objection pointing out that the Congress members had sported black bands in the House on Tuesday during the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by farmers’ organisations.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 4:28:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/new-bill-seeks-to-ban-slaughter-of-all-cattle-has-stringent-penal-provisions/article33292885.ece

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