The Karnataka Assembly on Wednesday, 9 December, passed the controversial Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, amid protests.

The Bill was earlier introduced by the ruling BJP government, led by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.

When asked if there will be a complete beef ban in Karnataka, Law Minister JC Madhuswamy replied in the negative. “Slaughter of buffalo above 13 years will be allowed,” he said.

What Does the Bill Entail?

“Illegal selling, transportation or culling of cows (has been) made punishable. If a cow has contracted a disease which can spread to other cattle, then it can be culled/slaughtered,” the minister was quoted as saying later.

Section 1 (2) of the Bill read, “’Cattle’ means cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock and he or she buffalo below the age of thirteen years.”

Cattle slaughter will now be punished with imprisonment of three to five years. The fine on a violator can range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh, along with imprisonment.

A police officer above the rank of sub-inspector, if he has reason to believe that an offence under this Act has been committed, can inspect any premises and conduct a search.

Copy of Bill Not Distributed, Says Siddaramaiah

Former Karnataka Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah had earlier said that the Bill was introduced without any discussion. “Today, to our surprise, the minister for animal husbandry read a statement that he is introducing prevention of animal slaughter and protection bill. This was not discussed at all. It was a surprise for all of us,” he said.

He further added that a copy of the Bill was not distributed to the members of the House. “Whenever a Bill is introduced, the copies of the bill should be circulated to all the members. But even the minister (for animal husbandry) did not have a copy of the Bill with him,” he said.

Siddaramaiah further added that the government’s move was a breach of privilege. “The sanctity of the House has gone, the sanctity of the office of the Speaker is gone. The government is disrespectful to the office of BAC (business advisory committee). We are seriously considering if we should attend BAC or not,” he added.

Karnataka Already Had an Anti-Cattle Slaughter Act

Karnataka already had an anti-cattle slaughter bill – Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964. The provisions of this were restricted to the slaughter of cows, calves and she-buffaloes.

The law allowed for the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and buffaloes, provided they were aged above twelve, or were no longer fit for breeding or did not give milk. The law also required certification from the competent authority for slaughter.

The maximum imprisonment for violating the provisions of the 1964 Act was six months and a Rs 1,000 fine.

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