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=> Recently, the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 2021, was made more stringent through an amendment in the Winter Session of the Assam Assembly.
=> The original legislation had been passed in August 2021 which replaced the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950, on the ground that the latter lacked sufficient legal provisions to regulate the slaughter, consumption and transportation of cattle.
Major Provisions of Act:
=> Bars sale and purchase of beef or beef products The Act bars sale and purchase of beef or beef products in areas “predominantly inhabited by Hindu, Jain, Sikh and other non-beef-eating communities”, or “within a radius of 5 km” of any temple or sattra (Vaishnavite monasteries) and any other institution as may be prescribed by the authorities. However, exemptions might be granted for certain religious occasions.
=> Requirement of fit for slaughter” certificate. It prohibits the slaughter of a cow under any circumstances, other cattle can be slaughtered subject to a “fit for slaughter” certificate. The necessary certificate issued by the registered veterinary officer of a particular area has been obtained. The veterinary officer will issue a certificate only if he believes that the bovine, not being a cow, is over 14 years of age. A cow, heifer or calf may be slaughtered only if it is permanently incapacitated.
=> Punishment : All offences under this new legislation are cognizable and non-bailable. It provides for a minimum jail term of three years (extendable up to eight years) and a Rs 3 lakh fine (with the upper limit Rs 5 lakh). For repeat offenders, the punishment will be doubled.
=> Recent amendments: The original legislation had prohibited the inter-district movement of cattle within Assam without valid documents. The amendment now allows movement from one district to another, provided these do not border Bangladesh and provided those transporting the cattle are registered under the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department and have permits to transport the cattle for bonafide agricultural or animal husbandry purposes or for trade.
=> The amendments empower the police to enter the house of an accused, search and seize properties if they have a “prima facie reason to believe” that the properties have been acquired in the last six years with money earned from the illegal cattle trade.
=> Another amendment allows for the sale of seized vehicles, boats and vessels through “public auction” after being produced before the appropriate court.
=> To check cattle smuggling to Bangladesh — prohibits interstate transport of cattle to and from Assam without valid documents.
=> To remove certain existing restrictions with the aim of facilitating the utilization of cattle for animal husbandry and agricultural purposes.
=> Prohibition of the transport of cattle: It may lead to difficulties in the movement of cattle to the entire north-eastern region of India
=> Ambiguity pertaining to 5 KM: Temples can be created anywhere and then regulating this pointer will create chaos and law and order problems.
=> Increasing Polarisation: Such laws may create more partisan precedents leading to more communal conflicts.
=> Disproportionate power in the hands of the police:
=> The Act — as well as the amendments — has drawn criticism from the Opposition for being “unconstitutional”, it places disproportionate power in the hands of the police. Article 301 of the Constitution allows for the freedom of trade and commerce throughout the territory of India, and restriction on such transport — as in this law — requires assent from the President of India. The law does not have that.
=> The government want to stop the slaughter of cows — not destroy the agrarian economy therefore they have now allowed intra-state transportation of cattle.
=> Movements of cows can be restricted if they are procured from illegal sources If it is for farming, mining then government will allow it with a transit pass.
=> The seizure of vehicles would help stop the cattle trade that was still going on. Around 20-30 per cent illegal trade is still happening.”
By: ASRAF UDDIN AHMED ProfileResourcesReport error
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