The Punjab and Haryana high court has given the green signal to bullock cart races in the Kila Raipur Sports Festival, which is held in February each year.
Allowing a bunch of petitions filed by the Malwa-Doaba Bulls’ Welfare Association and others, the division bench comprising acting chief justice Jasbir Singh and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain said, “The bulls, which are being used for the sports, are well looked after, well nourished and are not treated with cruelty.”
The petitioners had challenged the central government’s notification dated July 11, 2011, which had banned the bullock cart race.
The division bench, in its order which was handed over to the petitioners on Tuesday, said, “The notification is not applicable to the facts and circumstances of the present case because the Kila Raipur Sports Festival is for public entertainment without any sale of ticket, in which people from rural India show their strength, endurance and skills in various events, including dog race and cart race the bullock cart is an integral part of rural India and is still a major means of transportation and the bull/ox are regularly used for ploughing”
The petitioners had told the court that the bulls contesting in cart races were being kept in hygienic conditions, treated in a princely way, provided with almonds, milk and the best diet for preparing them for the race. The court was informed that the people participating in the race were also prohibited from using the stick on bulls.
The division bench, while allowing the race, quashed the district administration’s February 2 and 10 orders banning it.
Jagbeer Grewal of the Grewal Sports Association, main organisers of the sports festival, said, “I am very happy at the court’s decision. The bullock cart race is an integral part of the games.”
Bullock Cart Owners’ Association president Jasbir Singh Bittu and other villagers of Kila Raipur also welcomed the high court order.
Giving the thumbs down to the ruling, Naresh Kadyan, founder, People for Animals, Haryana, said the bullock cart race violated Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, adding that the government notification had banned the use of bulls as performing animals.