President nod to blanket ban on cow slaughter in Maharashtra
- HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The slaughter of cows, bulls, bullocks and calves, is now completely banned in Maharashtra under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (amendment) Act (MAPA), 1995, which received President Pranab Mukherjee’s nod on Monday.
There is already a blanket ban in the state on the slaughter of cows. The amended Act puts a blanket ban on the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and calves, too. However, the slaughter of female buffaloes and buffalo calves can continue, but only with the permission of relevant authorities.
Under the amended act, the crime of slaughtering the animals covered under the ban will be non-bailable and the punishment will be five years in prison, upped from the earlier six months. The fine, too, has been hiked to Rs 10,000 from the current Rs 1,000.
The slaughter of cows is banned under schedule 5 of the Act passed in 1976. Schedule 6 of the Act, however, allowed the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, female buffaloes and buffalo calves with permission. The amendment now puts bulls, bullocks and calves under schedule 5 of the Act, which means a blanket ban on their slaughter.
“The amendment will come into force once the notification is issued by the state government,” said Mahesh Pathak, secretary of the animal husbandry and dairy development department.
The Sena-BJP government in 1995 moved an amendment for the inclusion of bulls, bullocks and calves under schedule 5 of MAPA. After the passage of the bill, it was sent to the Centre for the final nod in 1996.
In a letter sent to the Governor of Maharashtra on Monday, the union ministry of home affairs conveyed the President’s assent given on February 26 as per provisions in Article 201 of the Constitution of India. Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who was instrumental in the passage of the bill, had been pursuing the issue with the Centre for the last two months.
“The agriculture ministry had passed negative remarks after the bill was sent to the Centre in November last year. The agriculture department had pointed at provisions of schedule 6 of the Act claiming that only aged animals were being sent for slaughter. It was only after we convinced the political leadership about the importance of the bill, that the remarks were changed and the bill was sent to the ministry of home affairs,” said a BJP leader on the condition of anonymity.