Taking a step forward to enlist cow slaughter in the most severe offences in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the state cabinet under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath passed an ordinance. It is titled-the Cow Slaughter Prevention (Amendment) Ordinance 2020.
The Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 1955, mainly addresses these offences and aims to prevent cow slaughter, sale of beef and illegal transportation of other bovine animals. It provided punishment up to two years of imprisonment with fine, which may extend to one thousand rupees in case of cow slaughter (section 3) and sale of beef (section 5). The nature of these offences is cognizable and non-bailable.
The act went through various amendments to render it more fruitful according to the increased number of offences and several loopholes, the latest change before the ordinance was made in 2002.
The most prominent amendment under this ordinance is the increment in the term of imprisonment and fine. The offence committed for the first time under the act will now attract a penal provision of rigorous imprisonment of one to seven years, with an imposed fine of rupees one lakh which may extend to three lakh rupees. For the offence committed for the second time, rigorous imprisonment up to ten years may be imposed. The fine under this provision may extend to five lakh rupees.
The ordinance aims to bring section 5 of the said act under amendments. It states provision about illegal transportation of cows and other bovine animals. The ordinance states that if the life of possessed cattle is put to significant danger by denying nutrition, it shall attract punishment up to one year of rigorous imprisonment, which may extend up to 7 years. The fine for the same will amount to one lakh, which may extend up to three lakh rupees.
In case of an offence related to illegal transportation, the vehicle owner, the operator and the driver shall be held liable. The owner may be exempted in case he was unaware of the unlawful nature of transportation. The cost incurred while maintaining the ceased stock shall be recovered from the owner for one year or till the stock is released, whichever happens, earlier.
The rationale by UP government
Uttar Pradesh government has always been at the forefront of introducing measures to prevent cow slaughter. CM Yogi Adityanath bolstered his rationale to introduce a stringent punishment for cow slaughter by saying it had various loopholes. These loopholes included cattle being transported frequently to escape liability and the punishment was not effective enough to hinder such unlawful activities.