The State of Sikkim has reportedly become the first north-eastern State to pass a Bill banning cow slaughter, with the State Assembly passing the Sikkim Prevention of Cow Slaughter Bill, 2017 on Tuesday.
The Bill was tabled by State Animal Husbandry Minister Mr. Somnath Poudyal, who was quoted as saying, “Generally, the tendency of the cow owners is to cull and sell the cows once they are old and unproductive, which is highly unethical as well as inhumane. The government of Sikkim has a strong feeling to invoke the humane, ethical and sustainable alternative of taking care of aged and unproductive cows in gaushalas.”
The new legislation was also advocated for by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who opined that protection of cows has become important considering the need of inputs for organic farming in the State.
The Bill imposes an imprisonment of a term of not less than two years, which can be extended to five years, along with a minimum fine of Rs. 10,000 on anyone found slaughtering a cow in the State. A repeat offender will face rigorous imprisonment for at least five years, which may be extended to seven years, along with a fine of no less than Rs 10,000.
It, however, provides an exception for cows suffering from infectious or contagious diseases. Such slaughter would require a certificate from the competent authority, and will have to be conducted at a designated place.
Up until now, the north-eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Sikkim have not had a ban on cow slaughter. While the State of Assam does ban slaughter of cows except on issuance of a ‘fit for slaughter’ certificate, it has not declared it a cognizable offence warranting arrest.
Interestingly, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising recently urged the Supreme Court to tag all petitions relating to beef ban in Maharashtra and refer it to a nine -Judge Bench for hearing. Representing 30 Maharashtra-based social activists, she is challenging the May 6, 2016 order of the Bombay High Court which had upheld the ban on cow slaughter in the State under the amended Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2015.