For strengthening the cow slaughter laws in the state,the draft of “UP Prevention of Slaughter (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020,” by the Uttar Pradesh Government was approvedon 9 June.
In a cabinet meeting led by CM Yogi Adityanath, the ordinance was approved enhancing the punishmentwith an aim to deter slaughter of cows in the state, prescribed under the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955.
Section 3 and Section 5 of the principal Act prohibits cow slaughter, or its attempt or abetment, and the sale or transport of beef, respectively. A person violating these provisions in the case of cow slaughter is to be fixed for punishment with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.
The maximum punishment for both the offences with rigorous imprisonment of a minimum term of 3 years and which may extend up to 10 years, and fine of minimum Rs. 3 lakh and maximum Rs. 5 lakh has been enhanced by the Ordinance. The punishment prescribed above will stand doubled, in caseof repeated offenders.
Photographs and names of persons accused of sale or transport of beef will be published in the areas near their residence stated the Ordinance.
“The name and photo of a person accused for violation of Section 5 will be published at any such important place in the locality where the accused normally resides or at such public place where he hides himself from the law enforcement“the Government stated in its press release.
The controversial move of the UP Government of Cow slaughter ordinance has been compared here, wherein banners containing photographs and details of persons accused of violence during anti-CAA protests had been put. The Allahabad High Court, to which had ordered the state to take down all the banners within a day and declared the act to be “highly unjust” and illegal.
Putting up banners containing details of persons who are merely accused of an offence, and fugitives, is “highly unjust” and an absolute “encroachment” on personal liberty, the Court stated.
“In entirety, we are having no doubt that the action of the State which is subject matter of this public interest litigation is nothing but an unwarranted interference in privacy of people. The same hence, is in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” saidthe Court.
The Up Government approached the Supreme Courtchallenging the HC order. The SC declined to stay the HC direction and referred the matter to larger bench.
Mutation of cows has been criminalized by amending section 5. It hadbeen done to ensure safety to the cows’ lives. The same is punishable with minimum one-year rigorous imprisonment, which may extend up to seven years. The provision also stipulates payment of fine of Rs 1 lakh, extendable up to Rs 3 lakh.
A liability was fixed by the Ordinance on the driver and owner of the vehicle that is used to transport beef and provided that if beef is found in a vehicle or it is discovered that cows are being transported illegally, the driver and the owner of the vehicle shall be charged for cow slaughter, unless they prove that they had no knowledge of the same.
Maintenance of the seized cows will be recovered from incurred expenditureof the owner of the vehicle for a period of one year.
The amendments were necessary to make the principal Legislation more robust and to uphold the public sentiment in an agriculture-dominated state, mentioned the Government.