Bengaluru: Despite the Opposition having an upper hand in the number game, the BJP-led BS Yediyurappa government in Karnataka was able to push through the anti-cow slaughter bill in the Legislative Council. The bill, passed by the Legislative Assembly, had faced a stumbling block in the Council where the BJP had found itself short in numbers.
But on Monday, the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2020 was passed in the Legislative Council following a voice vote. Surprisingly, 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 the protests looked a bit stage-managed as the protesting Opposition did not press for a division of votes and allowed the BJP to have the Bill passed through voice votes. 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 vote came after a lengthy debate in which Opposition legislators raised concerns about the bill, particularly the legal protection offered to 'good samaritans'.
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. In other words, beef 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 years’ imprisonment. It also gives the police power to search and seize on the basis of “reason to believe” that cattle is being sold, purchased or disposed of for the purpose of slaughter.
The BJP government had passed the bill in the Legislative Assembly but failed to introduce the bill in the Legislative Council. The government subsequently took the ordinance route and the cabinet passed the ordinance. It was later promulgated by Governor Vajubhai Vala. Now that the Legislative Council has passed the bill, it would be sent to the governor for approval.