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SC Permits Bullock Cart Racing in Maharashtra

  • 17 Dec 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Supreme Court allowed Maharashtra to hold the traditional bullock cart racing event, which has been prohibited since 2017.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960

  • The legislative intent of the Act is to “prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals”.
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) was established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Act.
  • This Act provides for punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals. The Act defines animals and different forms of animals.

Key Points

  • Background:
    • In 2014, the Supreme Court banned traditional sports like ‘Jallikattu’, bull race and bullock-cart races across the country noting that they were dangerous and violated provisions of the PCA Act.
    • Subsequently, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had amended the law to continue the tradition in a regulated manner, which are under challenge and pending before the Supreme Court since 2018.
    • In February 2018, the Supreme Court had referred the pleas related to 'Jallikattu' to a five-judge Constitution Bench which would decide if the bull-taming sport fell under cultural rights or perpetuated cruelty to animals.
  • Ruling:
    • The court observed that there was no reason to disallow it in the state when similar sports were going on in other places across the country.
    • If it is a traditional sport and going on all across the country except Maharashtra, it does not appeal to common sense.
  • Bullock Cart Racing
    • It is a popular and traditional sport in Western Maharashtra and in Pune district.
    • Apart from a traditional sporting event, the rural economy too is associated with bullock cart races.
      • Thousands of food stall vendors earn their livelihood through the races.
Other Animal Sports in India
  • Jallikattu, also known as 'eruthazhuvuthal', is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival.
  • Kambala is a traditional buffalo race in paddy fields filled with slush and mud which generally takes place in coastal Karnataka (Udupi and Dakshina Kannada) from November to March.
  • Cockfight or the Rooster fight is not indigenous to India. It is a sport that exists across the world. In India, cock-fight is not just a sport but a gambling game.
Camel Race
  • The race is all about Camels, in which people ride and participate in the race.
  • It is also a part of many fairs and festivals in Rajasthan, India such as Pushkar Fair, Bikaner Camel Festival, etc
Dog Fights
  • Dog fighting is a type of blood sport with two game dogs against one another in a ring or a pit for the entertainment of the spectators.
  • Even though it is illegal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and was banned by the Supreme Court last year, these fights are organised secretly and illegally.
Bulbul fights
  • It is organised in the state of Assam during Bihu (harvest festival) in the Hayagriva-Madhava Temple in Hajo near Guwahati, Assam.
  • Often bulbuls are fed intoxicants to make them aggressive.
Horse Racing
  • It is a performance sport in vogue since ancient times in Greece, Babylon, Syria, and Egypt and in India for over 200 years, involving jockeys riding horses over a distance.
  • In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that wagering on horse races is a game of skill and not luck and as such does not constitute illegal gambling. Horse racing, thus, is legal in the country.


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