The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft ordinance increasing the penalty for cow slaughter to up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh, PTI reported. The state cabinet cleared the draft of the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Cow Slaughter Prevention (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Adityanath in Lucknow.

The ordinance says that for the first offence, the person can be given a rigorous punishment of one to seven years with a fine ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. For the second offence, the period of imprisonment can be extended to 10 years, and the fine increased to Rs 5 lakh. At present, the maximum fine is Rs 10,000, The Times of India reported.

The ordinance says that in cases of illegal transportation of cows and other bovines, charges shall be filed against the driver, operator and the owner of the vehicle. However, the charges will not be filed, or will be dropped, if it is proven that the animals were transported without the owner’s knowledge.

The expenditure incurred on the maintenance of the captured cows will be recovered from the owner of the vehicle for a period of one year, or until the animal is released, whichever is earlier.

According to another provision, if someone does not provide food and water with the intention of endangering the life of the cow, the person can be awarded one-year rigorous imprisonment, which may extend to seven years. The person can be fined between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh.

All these offences will now be cognisable and non-bailable, according to the ordinance.