The bullock cart race organisers have opposed the blanket ban and have moved court.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has filed a detailed affidavit in support of bullock cart races in the in the state. The affidavit states that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act (amended), 2017, has provisions which state that if bulls are injured due to participating in the race, then his master and the person in charge can be punished for three years with a penalty of Rs 5 lakh. It also states that the bullock cart racing is a tradition of the state and can be conducted without causing injury to bulls and bullocks. It also contains the rules for conducting the races.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Pune resident Ajay Marathe, bringing to the court’s notice a bullock cart race organised in his district and seeking a stay on it. The Maharashtra assembly had in April this year passed the legislation for resumption of bullock cart races across the state, after Tamil Nadu enacted a law to regularise its rural sport, Jallikattu. The race was banned in 2014 on the ground that it caused pain and suffering to the bullocks.
During the last hearing, the court had restrained the Maharashtra government from granting permission for bullock cart races until the government frames rules to ensure that no act of cruelty to the animals takes place.
Accordingly, the state had framed the rules and Ashok Ulke, deputy secretary of agriculture and animal husbandry, had filed an affidavit on behalf of the state government, which said that the government had taken expert opinions from various veterinarian doctors and was putting forth the research made by them considering the physiological and anatomical structure of the bulls, on whether they can be used for racing or not.
The affidavit states, “Bullock cart race has played a vital role in preserving the native breeds as well as maintaining the purity of the breeds of bulls.”
The bullock cart race organisers have opposed the blanket ban and have moved court. They said that bullock cart racing is a part of the rural economy. Ramkrishna Takalkar, and a member of Akhil Bhartiya Bullock cart organisation’ said that a blanket ban on bullock cart racing is not a solution to stop cruelty against animals.
Rules framed by state to organise bullock cart racing