Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday tabled the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021, which seeks to regulate slaughter, consumption and illegal transportation of cattle in the State.
The following are the highlights of the Bill:
No sale of beef within a radius of 5km of any temple
Section 8 of the Bill prohibits the sale or purchase of beef in areas that have a predominant population of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and other “non-beef eating communities.”
“Provided that no such permission shall be granted (to buy/sell beef products) in such area or areas which are predominantly inhabited by Hindu, Jain, Sikh and other non-beef eating communities or within a radius of 5 kms of any temple, satra or other religious institutions belonging to Hindu religion…”
Prohibition on the transport of cattle
Section 7 of the Bill prohibits the transport of any cattle from any state through Assam to another state, and from Assam to places outside the State, without a valid permit.
Clause (6) of Section 7 provides certain exceptions in terms of transporting cattle across the State. It reads that no permit shall be required:
1. For carrying cattle to grazing fields or agricultural purposes.
2. For carrying cattle to and from a registered animal market for sale and purchase of such cattle within the district.
Power to search any premises
Section 11 of the Bill reads that any police officer or any other person authorized by the State government can “enter and inspect any premises” within their jurisdiction if they have a “reason to believe that an offence under the said Act/Bill has been or is likely to be committed.”
Penalties under the Bill
The Bill states that anybody who contravenes its provisions will be imprisoned for a term of three years, which is extendable up to eight years, and be liable to pay a fine of rupees three to five lakh.
All the offences under the said Bill are cognizable and non-bailable.
Section 15 reads that if any officer (not below the rank of SP) has reason to believe that there is an offence under this Bill and the person against whom a warrant has been issued is absconding such arrest, then their photograph with names will be published at prominent places across the locality.
Section 18 states that no suit or legal proceeding shall lie against persons acting under “good faith” as per the Act.
Section 20 of the Bill seeks to establish certain gaushalas to maintain cattle across the State.