For "protection and upkeep" of cows, Haryana Assembly tonight passed a Bill which clamps a complete ban on cow slaughter in the state and provides for a rigorous imprisonment ranging from three years to ten years for killing the animal.
After discussing the Haryana 'Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan' Bill, 2015, which also provides for a fine ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs one lakh, for about an hour, the House passed it with voice vote.
As the Bill was passed, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar thanked the members while former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda got up and said the BJP government deserves to be patted for this law.
The new law, which drew support from main opposition INLD, and the Congress, while banning the cow slaughter in the state, provides for prison term not less than three years for the offence and may extend to ten years.
In case of default in payment of the fine the convict would have to undergo another one year jail term.
The Bill was moved by State Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Minister, O P Dhankar, who at the outset said that it was his "good fortune" to present such a Bill.
He said the state had brought "country's stringent law" against cow slaughter and also which would ensure protection and upkeep of the animal, which has great reverence in the country since ages.
No person shall export or cause to be exported cow for the purpose of slaughter either directly or through his agent or servant or any other person acting on his behalf in contravention of the provisions of the Bill or with the knowledge that it shall be or is likely to be slaughtered, the Bill says.
"Anyone who contravenes this provision shall be guilty of an offence punishable with RI for a term not to be less than three years and may extend to seven years.
"And fine which shall not be less than Rs 30,000 and may extend to Rs 70,000. In case of default of payment of fine, additional imprisonment which may extend to one year may be imposed in lieu of fine," the Minister said.
On March 14, Haryana government had imposed a complete ban on the sale of beef in any form in the state.
"The ban covers canned beef also," he said.
The Bill provides that no person shall or offer for sale or cause to be sold beef or beef products except for such medicinal purposes and in such form as may be prescribed.
"Whoever contravenes this provision shall be guilty of an offence punishable with RI for a term not less than three years and may extend to five years which shall not be less than Rs 30,000 and may extend to Rs 50,000," he said.
No permit for export of cows shall be issued for a state where cow slaughter is not banned by law, Dhankar told the House.
However, the Government shall have power to issue special permits for export of cow in case where it is of the opinion that it shall be in the "public interest" to do so.
Whenever an offence punishable under this Act has been committed, any vehicle used in the commission of such offence shall be liable to be confiscated by a police officer not below the rank of Sub Inspector or any person authorised by the Government on this behalf.
Speaking on the Bill, Dhankar said that Haryana was promulgating the toughest law against cow slaughter in the country.
"The law has been framed after studying the laws in place in different states," he said.
The purpose of the new law is to prohibit the slaughter of cow on one hand and develop indigenous breeds of cows and to establish institutions to keep, maintain and care the infirm, injured, stray and uneconomic cows.
The government shall provide adequate financial and technical support to such institution.
"The state government is committed to strengthen the prohibition of cow slaughter in the state and make schemes, projects and programmes for conservation and development of indigenous breeds of cows," he said.
The Bill provides that the state government shall establish laboratories for differentiating of beef from that of the meat of other species of animals, testing and identification of various constituents of milk and milk products.
Earlier, the Punjab Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955, applicable in Haryana as amended from time to time, was in force, but according to the new Bill passed today, the previous Act in its present form had proved to be "ineffective as conviction rate is quite low".
Hence, a comprehensive Bill encompassing protection and upkeep of cows was brought, which entails repealing the existing Act, providing for stricter penalities for various offences.
Dhankar said that it is for numerous reasons that a cow in our country is referred to as "Gaumata (holy)".
He said that there were a total 18 lakh cows in Haryana, with 400 Gaushalas. Out of total cows, 1.17 lakh cows were of "Rani breed".
Congress MLA Karan Dalal mooted having tag system for cows as people leave many cows to stray on roads after they are no longer productive for them.