Earlier this year, the Kamalnath government in Madhya Pradesh proposed to amend the state’s cow protection laws to punish perpetrators of mob lynching in the name of the cow. Now the Uttar Pradesh government is all set to follow suit with a law against mob lynching.
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The UP Law Commission has submitted a report to the Adityanath government suggesting ways to prevent incidents of lynching as well as possible punishment for the crime. It has recommended life imprisonment in case the victim dies in the attack.
This is not very unlike what the MP government proposed in May this year. The INC’s manifesto for the state elections had promised better cow protection laws, in what was dismissed by critics as peddling soft Hindutva. The state has MP Cow Progeny Slaughter Prevention Act, 2004 which was amended in 2011. The new proposed amendment aims to bring about strict provisions against mob lynching by cow vigilantes. While some reports says that the proposed jail term ranges from 6 months to 5 years, others indicate it could be 3 years for the first offence and 5 years for the second.
At present the cow protection laws in MP can be summarised as under:
- Slaughter of cow progeny, and transport of agricultural cattle (s.6) for slaughter is prohibited.
- The export of cow progeny is not allowed without permit and the fulfillment of permit requirements that are laid down in the act.
- Penalty for slaughter of cows: Imprisonment which is a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 7 years AND a fine which is not less than Rs.5,000.
Meanwhile, after the 2002 amendment to the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, the provisions stand as follows:
- Penalty for cow slaughter, sale of beef and transport of cows for slaughter: Imprisonment which may extend to 7 years and a fine which may extend to Rs.10,000.
- Penalty for Attempt to commit cow slaughter, sale of beef and transport of cows for slaughter: Imprisonment which may extend to one half of the longest term of imprisonment provided for that offence and and with such fine as is provided for that offence)
- Offences are cognizable and non-bailable