THE Bill of a similar nature enacted by the Government of Gujarat has received the approval of the then President of India.
In a bid to clear hurdles and to ensure early implementing of its Anti-Cow Slaughter Bill, Karnataka Government is tirelessly working towards reaching its goal. Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa took a delegation comprising of BJP MP’s and his Cabinet colleagues, met Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India, requesting for her assent for the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter & Prevention of Cattle Bill 2010, on August 9.
State Government had replaced the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter & Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, to prohibit the slaughter of cows and calves of she-buffaloes, bull, bullock, buffalo male or female and for the preservation and improvement of the breeds of cattle and to endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry in terms of Article 48 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, it was decided to enact a comprehensive legislation. Accordingly, the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2010 was introduced in both the Houses of the Karnataka Legislature and was considered and passed. The Bill prescribes stringent punishment for violation, makes the offence cognisable and non-bailable.
The Governor of Karnataka, Hans Raj Bhardwaj has reserved the said Bill for the consideration of the President of India even though the Bill has been submitted to the Union Home Ministry by the Government of Karnataka as per the procedure prescribed.
The Governor of Karnataka has drawn attention to clause 5 of the Bill which prohibits possession, sale and transfer of beef and beef products in the State and has drawn the attention to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Mohammed Hanif Qureshi and others reported in AIR 1958 SC 731 and another case namely, State of Madras Vs Smt Champakam Dorairajan (1951).
In this connection, Chief Minister in his memorandum clarified that the Fundamental Rights conferred in the Constitution is subject to reasonable restrictions in Article 19 (6) and in Part IV of the Constitution as narrated in the Directive Principles of State Policy. This has been debated at length in a seven judge constitutional bench judgment of the Supreme Court in the State of Gujarat Vs Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab Jamat and others reported in (2005) 8 SCC 534. Further, as per Justice AK Mathur (concurring in law but dissenting on facts) stated as follows:
“The court should zealously guard Fundamental Rights guaranteed to the citizens of the society, but at the same time strike a balance between the Fundamental Rights and the larger interests of the society. But when such right clashes with the larger interest of the country it must yield to the latter. Therefore, wherever any enactment is made for advancement of Directive Principles and it runs counter to the Fundamental Rights an attempt should be made to harmonise the same if it promotes a larger public interest.”
In clause 5 of the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter & Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2010 the prohibition is on the sale, usage and possession only against the beef or beef products, but not against the meat of any other animal Therefore, this restriction is a reasonable restriction under clause (6) of Article 19 of the Constitution. The restriction imposed on transport of cattle for slaughter is also reasonable under Article 304(b) of the Constitution, as the restriction is only on transport for the purpose of slaughter. The transport of cattle for bona fide agricultural and animal husbandry purpose however is left free with the due permit from the Taluk Magistrate. The intention behind the above provision is to prohibit the slaughter of cattle and its progeny.
In a move to appease Minorities, HD Deve Gowda along with JD(S) MP’s and MLA’s met the President on August 5 and said the Bill has imposed unnecessary and unwarranted prohibition on the exercise of a Fundamental Right of a particular section of a society to carry on a occupation, trade or business. The act of Deve Gowda has created a storm in the peace loving State and the general public urged the temple authorities not to allow the people who are opposing this Bill to enter temples, mutts or any Hindu religious places of worship. A remark by Deve Gowda that he will protest by sending aged and unproductive cattle to CM’s office and RSS office if the Bill becomes a law, received a strong criticism from all the sections of the society.