New Delhi: BJP member Subramanian Swamy today introduced in the Rajya Sabha a private member bill which seeks “deterrent punishment”, including the death penalty, for slaughter of cow and issues related to that. The Cow Protection Bill, 2017, even invokes Mahatma Gandhi, while seeking a ban on cow slaughter, saying the Father of the Nation had “wished” so. The bill seeks “to create an authority to ensure stabilisation of population of cows and to suggest such measures to comply with Article 37 and 48 of the Constitution, to ban the slaugher of cow and to provide deterrent punishment including death penalty for slaughter of cow and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.” The Article 37 says that the provisions of the Directive Principles are not enforceable by any court and emphasises the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws to establish a just society.
The Article 48 mandates the State to prohibit the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle. The Statement of Object and Reasons of the bill says, “By creating an Authority under the Central Government to comply with Article 37 of the Constitution and in keeping with Article 48 of the Constitution, a law be enacted to ban the slaughter of all cows as wished by Mahatma Gandhi as an imperative for free Independent India and to recommend punishment including death penalty as a necessary deterrent for the prevention of the criminal offence of cow slaughter.” The bill provides that the authority should have Animal Husbandry Secretary and five eminent persons from fields like agricultural economics, animal welfare and and ancient Indian history or culture. The bill listed functions of the authority including undertaking a baseline study to collect data about cow population and to formulate a qualitative cow dignity index (CDI).
The study should be completed within one year after setting up of the authority. It says that the body should formulate schemes to provide for health of cows and calves and provide funds to help incentivise adoption of cow and setting up Gowshalas. “The authority should also recommend to the central government, deterrent penalties including death penalty, to those who commit offences against cows,” the bill says. It also says that the Authority should frame syllabus for awareness about importance of cows protection and development all over the country. The bill also says that the Authority should prepare an annual report which should be tabled in the Parliament. In the Parliamentary history of India, only one private members bill has so far become a law.
While scores of private members bills are introduced in Parliament each session, all of those are later withdrawn by the respective members after the government gives its views on those particular subjects. During todays proceedings, Naresh Gujral (SAD) introduced another private member bill titled The Parliament (Enhancement of Productivity) Bill, 2017 which seeks establishment of an effective system to prevent and address the decline in productivity of Parliament due to disruptions of sittings. The bill seeks to achieve its objective by means of an appropriate legal framework to fix the minimum number of days in a year (100 days) for which Parliament shall be in session.
It also seeks introduction of special session in addition to the existing three sessions, compensation for the hours unutilised due to disruptions, and to provide obligations of the Presiding Officers of both Houses and the Members of Parliament and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto. The other private members bills introduced in the House included The Children with Specific Learning Disabilities (Identification and Support in Education) Bill, 2016, The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (Amendment) Bill, 2016, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Amendment of Tenth Schedule) and The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (Amendment of article 51A).