Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma introduced proposed legislation to safeguard cattle in the state on the opening day of the Budget Session of the state legislature on Monday. Other states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka have similar legislation as the above bill.
OBJECTIVE OF THE BILL
This Act was passed to repeal the earlier enacted legislation i.e., Assam Cattle Preservation Act of 1950 as it lacked sufficient legal provisions to deal with the issues arising in regards to the transportation, slaughter and consumption of the cattle. Given the experiences gained over the years and the deficiencies recognized, a legislation must be adopted with adequate law to govern animal slaughter, consumption and transportation by repealing the Assam Cattle Preservation Act of 1950. In view of the above the proposed regulation was enacted to have sufficient legal provision to deal with the issues arising in regards to the transportation, slaughter and consumption of the cattle.
FEATURES OF THE BILL
- According to the section 2 the Act shall apply to the following mentioned in schedule which are follows:
- Both Male and Female Buffaloes,
- Buffalos Calves.
- The Bill attempts to ban the trafficking of cattle to areas beyond Assam, where cattle slaughter is not regulated by law, from anywhere inside the Assam. It is also illegal by statute to transport livestock from areas outside Assam to any point in the State. In addition, the transportation of cow from one area in Assam to another is limited.
- "The competent authority can provide authorization for transportation, as stipulated in the regulations laid out in the Act, of cattle for bona fide agricultural or animal husbandry." Some exemptions are also available. There should be no authority to transport animals inside a district to grassland or for agriculture or animal husbandry. For the purpose of sales and purchases of such animals inside the district no authorization should be necessary for moving cattle to or from the registered animal market.
- Nobody shall, unless the government permits them, be allowed to sell beef or beef products under any form. This bill prohibits the sale of Beef within a five-km radius of any temple, satra (Vaishnavite monastery) or other religious institutions of Hindus or any other institution or area as prescribed by the competent authority, in areas with the predominant population of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and any other non-beef-eating community. In Assam, beef consumption is currently not banned. The new Bill aims to abolish the legislation of 1950 wherein it was mentioned that the cattle of age over 14 years could be slaughtered.
- The purchaser shall provide proof of sale and purchase in a defined manner and shall maintain a record of inspection for each committee or recognized market in animals. Breaches will result in cancellation of the animal market license, and it is suggested that those responsible for violations are prevented and punished by market entry. The Bill aims to enable police officers and veterinary personnel to confiscate bovine animals, corpses and vehicles sold without the regulations to transport them. Cow shelters or similar organizations should be given the seized cattle.
- Section 11 of the Act lays down the power of any police officer or any other person that has been authorized by the State Government can inspect any premises if he/she belief that an offence under this act has been or is being committed provided the premises falls within the jurisdiction of the officer or the person mentioned above.
- Section 13 of the Act provides for the penalties. It is recommended by the Act that the violators should be imprisoned for three to eight years. Fine between 3 lakh and 5 lakh is also provided. The bill intends to penalize repeat offenders for the second and subsequent convictions by a doubling of the penalty.
- Section 14 of the Act states that all the offences listed under the Act are cognizable and non-bailable.
- Section 15 states that if any officer of a rank not below the rank of an SP has reasonable cause to believe that a person who has committed an offence under this 2021 Bill and against whom a warrant has been issued is evading arrest, photos of such person with names will be released in prime locations throughout the locality.
- Section 20 of the bill allows the State Government the right to set up, or direct to establish any municipal authority or allow a society registered under the Societies Recognition Act, 1960 or to establish, in places considered necessary for the treatment and management of animals, an institution, including Gaushala.
Assam is the northeast primary gateway. Almost all items are brought through Assam to the region, other from livestock, from other parts of the country. The Bill will probably influence the provision of cattle products in areas where beef is eaten by the Christian majority. It aims at protecting animals by the regulation of their slaughter, consumption and illicit movement. Unless a qualified veterinary officer delivers a certificate indicating the animal is suitable for slaughter, the Bill provides to prevent the killing. Only cows over 14 years of age or chronically disabled persons are certified for slaughter because of their work, breeding, accident or deformity. Only approved and recognised slaughterhouses can slaughter certified animals. The state government may for religious purposes except cows, kennels or calves for particular places of worship or events exempt from the slaughter of cattle.