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Bombay HC restrains Maharashtra govt from issuing permits for bullock cart racing

The bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Nitin Jamdar passed a restraining order after the Supreme Court observed that “bullocks can't be viewed as performing animals”

mumbai Updated: Aug 17, 2017 02:13 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bombay HC,Bullock cart racing
The Bombay HC bench felt that the state was obligated to put in place a mechanism or procedure to ensure that bullocks are not subjected to unnecessary pain and suffering because of the races.(HT photo)

The Bombay high court on Wednesday temporarily stopped the Maharashtra government from giving permits for bullock cart races in the state. This move came after the state recently amended the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1986 to allow bullock cart races in Maharashtra.

The bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Nitin Jamdar passed a restraining order after the Supreme Court observed that “bullocks can't be viewed as performing animals”. “They are not anatomically designed for the purpose of racing and therefore the very conduct of the race would amount to inflicting cruelty on them, as it would be like forcing them to enhance their walking pace,” said SC in 2014 in the Jallikattu case.

The bench felt that the state was obligated to put in place a mechanism or procedure to ensure that bullocks are not subjected to unnecessary pain and suffering because of the races. It also said unless that is done, it would be inappropriate to permit bullock cart races and directed the state to submit its plan.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Vashi resident Ajay Marathe who challenged the validity of July 31 amendment. The amendment allows continuation of traditional bullock cart races with prior permission of the collector and prescribes punishment of fine of up to Rs5 lakh or imprisonment for a term extending to three years if any person is found conducting such a race in contravention of the conditions laid down by the collector or causing pain or suffering to the animal.

Marathe contended that the Act was enacted to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain, suffering or cruelty on animals, but the amendment was against that objective. His counsel, senior advocate Anil Anturkar submitted that the very act of engaging bullocks in races amounted to causing them unnecessary pain and suffering and therefore there was no way the collector could ensure that no unnecessary pain was inflicted upon bullocks.

State pleader Abhinandan Vagyani said the state was yet to frame rules regulating the races and before that happens, no permissions will be granted.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 02:10 IST