New Delhi: The Supreme Court was informed on Monday that every cow and its progeny will be given a Unique Identification Number (UIN) and will be kept at shelter homes run by state governments in every district after they cease to give milk.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that each cow and its progeny across India would get a UIN so that their tracking could be done.
The UIN would record their details like age, breed, sex, lactation, height, body colour, horn type, tail switch and special marks, he said.
"The Union Agriculture Ministry has devised a tamper-proof identification of cattle using polyurethane tags with UIN.
"There will be a uniform law for the preservation and protection of cow in India as it will help in reducing grey areas and ensuring implementation in a better way," the Solicitor General said seeking dismissal of the petition by the Akhil Bharat Krishi Goseva Sangh, since the court's directions had been complied with.
Kumar told the court that the polyurethane tags method had been recommended by a committee headed by a Joint Secretary-rank officer of the Home Ministry.
"...recommendations of the committee have been finalised and approved by the competent authority," the government told the court.
The petitioner organisation had moved the top court seeking putting in place of a comprehensive plan for curbing the smuggling of animals, including unproductive cows, to Bangladesh, which has large beef processing units for export of beef.
The committee suggested that instead of dealing with the problem of smuggling at the Indo-Bangladesh border, it would be better to address it at the source itself.
It has recommended that states set up Kanji Houses/ Pinjrapoles with a minimum capacity of 500 cattle each in every district to ensure that rescued/ abandoned animals are adequately cared. Every Kanji house, the committee has recommended, may have a full time veterinary doctor and staff for its effective running and maintenance.
To check the smuggling of livestock across country's border with Bangladesh, there should be strict enforcement of Export Import Policy (EXIM) by the Customs Department, state police, regional transport department and the Border Security Force (BSF), the panel suggested.
It further recommended that enforcement agencies working on the Indo-Bangladesh border lay more emphasis on intelligence and information and for this, they could seek active support and co-operation from the public on the movement of animals.
The committee has also recommended that the penalty of Rs 50 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, be revised based on inflation correction since 1960 when the Act came into force. In the course of deliberation of the committee, it was felt that all the offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, should be made cognizable.
The Committee has noted that due to "economic inter-dependency" of large segment of population on both sides of the border, they develop propensity for smuggling, with illegal cattle trade forming a major part.
It has identified North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Malda, Nadia and Dakshin Dinajpur districts in West Bengal and Dhubri in Assam as the most cattle trade-prone areas.
It also identified high demand in Bangladesh and margin of profit as reasons for smuggling.
The committee has recommended prohibition on livestock market close to the international border.
The panel has suggested formation of a state-level data bank, which may be uploaded on website and linked with national online database.
It has also recommended appointing Registrar of Cattle in each state.