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The Uttar Pradesh government has cleared the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which imposes stringent penalties for the offence of cow slaughter.
The penalties under the Ordinance include imprisonment ranging from one year to ten years and fines ranging from Rs. 1 lakh and 5 lakh.
Under the existing legislation - the Uttar Pradesh Prevention Of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955 - the maximum penalty is seven years' imprisonment.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) of the Uttar Pradesh government Awanish Awasthi was quoted as saying that the Ordinance contains a provision that allows authorities to paste pictures of the accused in public places if they go on the run.
As per the Ordinance, the accused will also have to bear expenditure related to the maintenance of the seized cattle for a year or till the animals are released, whichever earlier. Penalties for injury to cattle and inhumane transportation are also envisioned.
Persons convicted for offences under the Ordinance for a second time will be punished for a "double penalty".
Back in 2017, the Central government had notified rules pertaining to cattle slaughter, termed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules. These Rules became the subject of challenge in various High Courts, and had eventually reached the Supreme Court.
In July 2017, the Centre told the Supreme Court that it will consider the representations received from various stakeholders and make necessary amendments to the Rules.
Two years later, the Rules were subject to another challenge in the Apex Court. Notice was issued in the matter in July last year.