The Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021, brought by Assam Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma is set to replace the Cattle Preservation Act, 1950.
In the first session of the newly formed Assam Government led by Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, on the very first day of the Budget session, Assam Chief Minister tabled “The Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021”, by which the government attempts to protect and give due status to cattle.
Dr. Sarma has stated in the draft that in the constitution of India, Article 48, which enshrines one of the Directive Principles of state policy, lays down that the state shall endeavor to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps towards preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
Considering the experience over the years and given the shortcoming, which has been observed, it is considered that there is an imperative need to enact legislation to include sufficient legal provision to regulate the slaughter, consumption, and transportation of cattle by repealing The Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950.
The Bill strictly restricts the sale of beef or any beef products in the areas of Hindus, Sikh, Jains, and non-beef consuming communities around the 5 km radius of any temple or Sattra (Vaishnavite Monasteries) in the state.
The bill seeks about the Assam Cattle Preservation Act 1950 to be replaced, and cattle above 14 years of age or those permanently incapacitated due to work, breeding, accident, or deformity will only be certified for slaughter after verified by the local veterinary officers. It says the certified cattle can be slaughtered only in licensed and recognized slaughterhouses.
The bill also seeks about the illegal interstate transportation of cattle that the competent authority much issue a permit for transport of cattle for bona fide agricultural or animal husbandry purposes as prescribed in the rules framed under the Act.
No person shall directly or indirectly sale or offer for sale or buy beef or beef products in any conditions except at places permitted to do by the authority of by the law, the bill seeks.
In this act, every animal market committee of recognized animal markets shall issue proof of sale and purchase of animals in prescribed format and must maintain a proper record, the bill seeks.
Under this act, the inspection authority is only to be a police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector or registered veterinary officer and a person authorized by state government having the power to enter and inspect under their jurisdiction and report to the judicial magistrate first class.
The seized cattle shall be handed over to any existing Gaushala, or similar institution after the assessment of AHV Department.
Under this act, whoever is found guilty will be punishable under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which shall be cognizable and non-bailable.
In this act, it is clarified that no individual persons or private institutions could run the slaughterhouses.
In this act, the state government may establish, or direct any local authority or registered societies under the Registration Act 1960 like Gaushala or cattle preservation institution in any places to take care of cattle.
In this act, the schedule section 2 and 3 identifies seven categories of cattle, (1) Bulls, (2). Bullocks, (3). Cows, (4). Heifer, (5). Calves, (6). Male and Female Buffalos, and, (7). Buffalo Calves.
The author is a student in Political Science from Guwahati University.