Cabinet clears draft Animal Welfare Law

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DHAKA : The cabinet today approved in principle the draft of “The Animal Welfare Law, 2016” incorporating provisions of jail term and fine for killing animals and behaving cruelly with them or forcing them to do extra hard works.

The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said the draft law has been proposed changing the existing Cruelty Act 1920 that was very old.

He said the definition of the animal has been specified in the draft law, and all vertebrate except human being, domestic animals used for the purpose of getting services and pet animals would come under the purview of the law.

Alam said according to the new draft law, showing unnecessary cruelty to animal, killing animals or behaving cruelly with them or forcing them to do extra hard work would be considered as punishable offences.

About the punishment, he said any one involved in offences like killing of animal or hurting animal seriously would face maximum two years of jail or Tk 50,000 as fine or both the punishments.

Besides, six months of imprisonment or Tk 10,000 as fine or both the punishments would be made for cruel or heartless behaviour or for any unnecessary harmful behaviour to animals.

The cabinet secretary said Director General of the Department of Veterinary or his or her authorised officer or any police personnel holding the post of not below Sub-Inspector can file case against any person doing such offenses.

He added that production and re-production of pet animals and their management would have to be animal friendly and registered with the concerned department.

The cabinet also approved in principle the draft of “Bangladesh Employees Welfare Board (amendment) Law, 2017” increasing the financial power of the board in some cases.

Alam said that the grant for bearing the treatment cost of complicated diseases of the government employees from the Board has been raised to Tk 2 lakh from the existing Tk 1 lakh.

Besides, he said, that the monthly subscription fee for the Welfare Board has also been proposed to be enhanced to highest Tk 150 which is now Tk 50 or around 1 percent of the basic salary, the monthly highest premium for joint insurance has been proposed at Tk 100 from the existing Tk 40.

Alam informed that the proposed amendment to the law also hiked the monthly welfare allowance to Tk 2,000 from the existing Tk 1,000, the general treatment grant to Tk 40,000 from the existing Tk 20,000, grant for burial Tk 10,000 from the existing Tk 5,000 and the one-time grant for joint insurance to Tk 2,00,000 from the existing Tk 1,00,000.

The cabinet also gave a nod in principle to the draft of “The Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center Law, 2016” translating the law into Bangla in line with the earlier cabinet decisions to turn all the ordinances promulgated during the Marshal Law regimes into laws following the higher court verdict.

Shafiul Alam said the cabinet also approved in principle the draft of “The Child (amendment) Bill, 2017” by amending section 17 of the existing law of 2013.

The cabinet secretary said a problem has arisen in section 17 of the current law that the children — both the criminals and witnesses — who are facing trial become similar.

To separate this, he said, an amendment has been brought in section 17 of the present law.

The cabinet secretary said as per the proposed law, the Child Tribunal would file cases against the children involved in the clash with the law. Those children who would come as witnesses would not come under the purview of section 17 of the law.

Alam said the cabinet also endorsed a proposal for filling the vacant post of freedom fighters quota by general candidates staying top of the national merit list due to unavailability of eligible candidates for the posts.

The cabinet secretary said the cabinet also okayed a proposal for one time relaxation of provision of preserving the vacant posts of the priority quota for the 36th BCS.

Under the proposal, he said, the vacant preserved posts for freedom fighter, female and small ethnic communities in the 35th BCS would be filled by adding to the vacant posts of concerned cadres of the 36th BCS.

Minister and State Ministers concerned attended the meeting while secretaries concerned were present.

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