The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2020 was passed in the Legislative Council on Monday following a voice vote. The vote took place even as the legislators from the Congress and JD(S) continued protests, several of them even tearing copies of the Bill in the Council.
But despite their protests, the Opposition failed to demand a division of votes and allowed the BJP to have the Bill passed through voice votes. Just minutes after the newly-elected Deputy Chairman M K Pranesh called for a vote on the Bill, legislators came to the well of the House and shouted slogans against the government and the Bill. Congress MLCs Naseer Ahmed, M Narayanaswamy and R B Thimmapur were among those who tore copies of the Bill in protest.
The vote came after a lengthy debate on the issue in which Opposition legislators raised concerns about the bill, particularly the legal protection offered to 'good samaritans'.
The BJP had 28 MLCs present at the time of voting while the Congress and JD(S) collectively had 31 MLCs present. Despite the numbers, the Opposition parties failed to prevent the passage of the Bill. The Council was adjourned till 11 am on Tuesday.
Under the new law, only male or female buffalo above the age of 13 can be slaughtered. However, cow, calf of a cow, bull, bullock are prohibited from slaughter. This means that beef meat will be unavailable in the state and only buffalo meat from buffaloes above 13 years of age can be sold. Penalties for violations range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh per animal and three to seven yearsâ€™ imprisonment. It also gives the police power to search and seize on the basis of â€śreason to believeâ€ť that cattle is being sold, purchased or disposed of for the purpose of slaughter.
The previous Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964 had banned the slaughter of cows and calf of she-buffalo. However, the older law had permitted bull, bullock, buffalo (male or female) to be slaughtered if the animal was above 12 years of age, or if it was incapacitated for breeding, draught or giving milk due to injury, deformity or any other cause.
The BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government had passed the bill in the Legislative Assembly but failed to introduce the bill in the Legislative Council. The government had then taken an ordinance route and the cabinet passed the ordinance. It was later promulgated by the Governor Vajubhai Vala and now passed in the Legislative Council.