The Karnataka Cabinet on Monday decided to promulgate an ordinance to give effect to the anti-cow slaughter Bill that was passed by the state’s Legislative Assembly earlier this month, reported PTI. The Bill however could not be tabled in Karnataka’s Upper House, the Legislative Council, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party does not enjoy a majority.

“As the Congress sabotaged the session at Vidhana Parishad, the Bill could not be passed,” Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chauhan told The News Minute. “But, BJP is firm on protecting cows so the Bill has been implemented through an ordinance.”

A blanket prohibition on slaughter of cows will be imposed in the state once the ordinance receives assent from the governor. However, slaughter houses will continue to function and the consumption of buffalo meat will not be prohibited.

“The anti-cow slaughter law is not new, we have had it for decades,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy told PTI. “Previously, there was a ban on slaughter of cows until the age of 13. We have extended it with an intention that older cows should not be left out. Since the prohibition does not extend to buffaloes, there is no ban on beef consumption.”

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet, Madhuswamy said that the ordinance was likely to be sent to the governor within a day for his assent. He also said that the government was considering the construction of cow shelters to ensure that aged cows that are not used for milching do not become a burden on the farmer, PTI reported.

The anti-cow slaughter Bill

The Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2020 was passed in the state Assembly on December 9. However on December 15, a ruckus ensued between Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party MLCs before the Bill could be tabled. The BJP had called for a no-confidence motion against council chairperson and Congress leader K Prathap Shetty after he adjourned the House on December 10, before the Bill could be taken up.

However, the BJP made SL Dharmegowda – the deputy chairperson and a Janata Dal (Secular) leader – take the chairperson’s seat, before Shetty arrived. This led to a scuffle between leaders of Congress and BJP, following which Shetty adjourned the council sine die.

The Congress wants to vote against the anti-cow slaughter bill, while the JD(S) wishes to send the bill to a select committee. The BJP needs the support of JD(S) to pass the bill as the saffron party has only 31 MLCs in the 75-member House. The Congress has 29 MLCs, including the chairperson. The JD(S) has 14 members and there is one Independent MLC. Meanwhile, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, in an interview to The News Minute, has said that his party will not support the passage of the bill in the council.

The bill seeks a total ban on the slaughter of cows in the state and stringent punishment to those who indulge in smuggling, illegal transportation, atrocities on cows and slaughtering them. It provides for a jail term of three to seven years and (or) a fine up to Rs 5 lakh.