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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Karnataka Assembly passes stringent anti-cow slaughter law amidst Congress walkout

BS Yediyurappa led Karnataka government tabled and passed a Bill in the state Assembly on Wednesday, banning all forms of cattle slaughter and stringent punishment for offenders. Opposition parties – Congress and JDS – staged a walkout calling the passage of the Bill ‘anti-democratic’.

As per reports, The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 is a revised version of a Bill that was passed in 2010 when the BJP was in power. The 2010 Bill was shelved in 2013 by the Congress government after it did not receive then Governor HR Bhardwaj’s assent. Bhardwaj was a dyed-in-the wool Congress dynasty loyalist, during whose controversial term the Governor’s office became a centre of intrigue to destabilise the Yediyurappa government.

The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government had then reverted to the less stringent Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation of Animals Act, 1964, which allows cow slaughter with certain restrictions.

Under the new Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, cattle has been designated as “cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock and he or she buffalo” and their slaughter is banned. The only exemptions under the 2020 Bill are buffaloes above the age of 13 years and certified by a competent authority, cattle used in medical research, cattle certified for slaughter by a veterinarian to prevent spread of a disease, and very sick cattle.

Like the 1964 and 2010 laws, the new law passed in the state assembly also designates the slaughter of cattle as a cognizable offence — where arrests can be carried out without court warrants. The punishment, however, has been increased to three to seven years of jail or fines ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh or both. In the 1964 law, the punishment is six months of imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 1000.

The new Bill also prescribes new punishments for transport of cattle, sale of meat and purchase or disposal of cattle for slaughter — a prison term of three to five years and a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh.

Prabhu Chavan, minister for animal husbandry and fisheries, said that the new law was also required for the preservation and improvement of the breeds of cattle and to endeavour to organize agriculture and animal husbandry in terms of Article 48 of the Constitution of India by enacting a comprehensive legislation.

Opposition leaders staged a walkout claiming the bill was ‘bulldozed’ through the house. But CM B S Yediyurappa said it was necessary to get the Bill passed in the assembly Wednesday itself since it has to be cleared by the legislative council by Thursday evening when the legislative session is due to end.

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