Gujarat Assembly withdraws bill aimed at prohibiting movement of stray cattle in urban areas


In the wake of intense agitation by the cattle-rearers, the Gujarat Legislative Assembly on Wednesday unanimously withdrew a bill aimed at prohibiting the movement of stray cattle on roads and public places in urban areas of the state, months after it was passed.

The withdrawal came days after state Governor Acharya Devvrat returned the Gujarat Cattle Control (Keeping and Moving) In Urban Areas Bill to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-helmed government in the state with a request to “reconsider it and make necessary amendments”.

The bill, passed by the Assembly in April this year, mandated that the cattle-rearers were required to obtain a licence to keep such animals, such as stray cows and bulls, in cities and towns and get them tagged, failing which they may face imprisonment.

The proposal to withdraw the bill was tabled for vote by Minister of State for Urban Development Vinod Moradiya on the first day of the two-day Assembly session on Wednesday and subsequently withdrawn unanimously as the opposition Congress also supported the BJP governments move.


Ahead of the vote, Assembly Speaker Nimaben Acharya informed the House that the bill was returned by the governor on September 17 with his message.

“In his message, the governor said he had received representations from the Maldhari (cattle-rearers) community against the bill. Cattle-rearing is part of our life. Therefore, in view of the representations, the governor said he is returning the bill for reconsideration and for making necessary amendments,” Acharya said while reading out the governors message. The bill was cleared in the last Assembly session on April 1 amid protest by the opposition Congress, which had termed it as a “black Act” during the discussion.

At that time, Moradiya had said the bill was necessary because the practice of keeping cattle, such as cows, buffaloes, bulls and goats, in urban areas is causing trouble for the city-dwellers as the cattle-rearers let their animals stray on roads and other public places.

The bill mandated that after getting a licence for their cattle, the owner is required to get the cattle tagged and refrain from letting the cattle move on roads or any other places in the city, said the minister.

If the owner fails to get its cattle tagged in 15 days, he will be punished with imprisonment which may extend up to one year or a penalty of Rs 10,000 or both, the bill document said. The sale of fodder for cattle in non-designated areas in cities is also prohibited under the bill.

According to the bill, any person who assaults officials or creates hurdles during cattle catching operations, will be punished with one year of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 50,000.

Cattle without tag will be seized and shifted to a permanent cattle shed by the authorities and released after taking a fine of Rs 50,000, it said. Following large-scale protests by Maldhari community immediately after the bill was passed, Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil had in April given an assurance to the community that he had requested Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel to reconsider it.

Days later, Gujarat government spokesperson Jitu Vaghani had announced that the chief minister decided not to implement the bill.

Not satisfied with such assurance, nearly 50,000 cattle-rearers had held a mahapanchayat near Gandhinagar on Sunday demanding permanent withdrawal of the bill.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)