Karnataka's ordinance to stop killing of cattle came into effect from today after the governor cleared it. The ordinance clears the way to punish people for killing cattle and protects those "acting in good faith" to save them. A bill on this is yet to be cleared by the legislative council.
Those found guilty of cattle slaughter can be jailed from three to seven years, with a fine between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh. A person found guilty of cattle slaughter for a second time will be jailed for seven years and fined Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh.
However, slaughter is allowed for those dealing in meat of buffaloes above 13 years old, only if certified by a competent authority. There is also exemption for slaughtering terminally ill cattle, cattle suffering from contagious diseases or those that went through medical procedures for research purposes.
Offering protection for "persons acting in good faith", the ordinance says no lawsuit, prosecution or other legal proceedings can be launched against the competent authority or any person using powers under this ordinance.
The BJP government led by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa took the ordinance route after the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, which was passed by the assembly last month during the winter session amid strong opposition by the Congress, was not approved by the legislative council. The council was adjourned indefinitely before the bill was tabled there.
The BJP is outnumbered in the council by the opposition Congress and Janata Dal (Secular), both of which have made their opposition to the bill very clear. They have described it as anti-farmer.
For the bill to become law, it has to be passed by this council, followed by assent of the governor.
Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had on December 9 said the anti-cow slaughter bill had been "introduced and passed without any discussion". The Congress alleged that the law will be misused to polarise people on communal lines and target Muslims.
The BJP has hailed the ordinance as a big leap in protecting cattle in the state.