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Karnataka Anti-Cattle Slaughter Ordinance: Even the Farmers Selling Cattle Can Be Booked For Abetment To Slaughter

What is very serious about the new law is that it empowers police “to inspect and seize” the cattle if the police have “the reason to believe” that the cattle are being sold, purchased or disposed of for the purpose of slaughter.

Syed Sujeel Ahmed | India Tomorrow

BENGALURU—The anti-cattle slaughter ordinance approved by Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala on Tuesday punishes not only those involved in actual slaughter of the cattle but also those who are involved in sale of the cattle.

It means that even farmers and cattle-breeders who sell their cattle knowing the person is buying the cattle for purpose of slaughtering, will be booked and arrested under Clause 7 and 15 of the new law.

What is very serious about the new law is that it empowers police “to inspect and seize” the cattle if the police have “the reason to believe” that the cattle are being sold, purchased or disposed of for the purpose of slaughter.

The police have also been given powers to even seize the premises and the materials which, they feel, are intended for slaughter.

It means even the shops or the houses or any other places where the cattle are kept and police believe that they are kept there for slaughter, can be seized by the state.

In this sense, Karnataka anti-slaughter law is the most stringent as anti-cattle slaughter laws in all other states have excluded the sellers. In Karnataka law, the seller will be booked and punished for abetment to slaughter.

The new law makes slaughter of cow, calf of a cow, bull and bullock illegal, irrespective of their age.

It allows slaughter of only buffaloes-male and female-above 13 years of age. Slaughtering of he- or she-buffaloes below the age of 13, is punishable offence.

However, the law is totally silent on the sale, purchase, transport, import and consumption of beef, that is, meat of cow, calf, bull and bullock within the state.

The old law-The Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964-had a blanket ban on the slaughter of cows and its calf. The old law had, however, permitted slaughter of bull, bullock, male and female buffalo if they were above 12 years of age or they were not fit for breeding, not giving milk or suffered from some deformity or injury.

The state government which got The Karnakata Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 passed in the Legislative Assembly, had to take the route of Ordinance because it failed to get the Bill passed in the Legislative Council where the BJP lacks the majority.

Under the new law, the penalty for slaughter of banned animals range from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 10 lakh and imprisonment from three years to seven years.

Protection to self-appointed vigilantes

The most dangerous provision of the new law is that it provides protection to self-appointed vigilantes who have been harassing the cattle traders in the state. According to Clause 17 of the new law, “no suit, prosecution or legal proceedings” can be initiated against the vigilantes or any other person acting in “good faith”.

However, the law has not defined what is “good faith”. This can result in further harassment of cattle traders in the state as the traders cannot file any case against such people.

Ban on transport of cattle outside the state for slaughter

The new law also bans transport of cattle for slaughter outside the state, excepting those permitted under the law. This will highly restrict the cattle trade in the state.

Bar on hearing of cases

According to the new law, only sub divisional magistrate (SDM) or the Sessions Judge can hear the cases pertaining to seizure of the cattle, premises or materials used or intended to be used for slaughter.

It clearly says that “any other officer, court, tribunal or authority shall have no jurisdiction to make orders with regard to the custody, possession, delivery, disposal or distribution of such property”.

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