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Explained: The highlights of Karnataka’s anti-cow slaughter Bill

The 2020 Bill is a revised version of a law passed by the BJP when it was in power in 2010. It was presented in a bid to ban all forms of cattle slaughter by recommending stringent punishment for violators.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal , Edited by Explained Desk | Bengaluru | Updated: December 18, 2020 3:11:02 pm
The Bill envisages a ban on all forms of cattle slaughter and stringent punishment for offenders.

The BJP-led government in Karnataka passed the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020) in the Assembly on December 9 amid strong opposition from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).

The Bill envisages a ban on all forms of cattle slaughter and stringent punishment for offenders.

Is the Bill completely new by itself?

No. The 2020 Bill is a revised version of a law passed by the BJP when it was in power in 2010. It was presented in a bid to ban all forms of cattle slaughter by recommending stringent punishment for violators.

However, as cited by top leaders of the ruling party in Karnataka, prescribed punishments have been intensified and a complete ban on any kind of cattle slaughter is being stressed upon in the new Bill.

What happened to the 2010 Bill?

The 2010 Bill was passed when BJP was in power with B S Yediyurappa as Chief Minister. It was shelved in 2013 by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government after the Bill failed to get the Governor’s assent.

The Congress had then reverted to the less-stringent Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation of Animals Act, 1964, that allowed cow slaughter with certain restrictions.

The 1964 law allowed the slaughter of bullock, buffalo-male or female if it was certified by a competent authority to be above the age of 12 years, incapacitated for breeding or deemed sick. That law had banned the killing of any cow or calf of she-buffalo. 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram

What has the anti-cow slaughter Bill been re-introduced?

Demanding a total ban on cow slaughter in the state, the BJP cow protection cell in the state had written to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa seeking the reintroduction of the 2010 Bill. According to party sources, discussions concerning the legal validity of the same began a few weeks later.

Meanwhile, days before the winter session began — on December 7 — in Karnataka’s Vidhana Soudha, Minister for Animal Husbandry Prabhu Chauhan had constituted a committee to study various aspects related to similar laws in place in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh as well.

How is ‘beef’ and ‘cattle’ defined in the latest Karnataka Bill?

While ‘beef’ is defined as the flesh of cattle in any form, the word ‘cattle’ is defined as “cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock, and he or she buffalo below the age of thirteen years”. The Bill also terms shelters established for the protection and preservation of cattle registered with the Department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries as ‘gau shalas’.

Who has the power to conduct searches?

Police officers ranked sub-inspector and above or a competent authority will have the power to search premises and seize cattle and materials used or intended to use to commit the offence. Such seizures, if any, will then be reported before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate without unreasonable delay.

What are the penalties?

Terming cow slaughter as a cognizable offence, violators can attract three to seven years of imprisonment. While a penalty between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh can be levied for the first offence, second and subsequent offences can attract penalties ranging between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh.

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