The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed bull races in Maharashtra, after a four-year hiatus, on the basis of same conditions and regulations as laid down in the amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act) by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar was hearing an application in the Maharashtra government special leave petition challenging the 2018 Bombay High Court order which stayed the bullock-cart races in the state. The high court passed the order in the backdrop of top court judgment banning traditional animal sports like Jallikattu, terming it an offence under the PCA Act.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi represented the Maharashtra government in the top court. He submitted that Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have passed amendments to the Act to permit races. Rohatgi added that the high court did not grant permission for the races, though the Maharashtra government framed rules to allow them under strict regulations.
The top court noted that Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments have passed amendments to the Act to allow animal sports.
The top court said the same dispensation must apply to the provisions of Maharashtra government, which are similar to the amendments carried out in other states. These amendments have also been challenged in the apex court; however, the two-judge bench had referred the matter to the Constitution Bench, without a stay on the amendments.
The bench, also comprising Justice C.T. Ravikumar said the validity of the Maharashtra amendment will also be decided by the same Constitution Bench.
During the hearing, the bench orally observed that it is essential to have uniformity, if races are going on in other states, then why shouldn't it be allowed in Maharashtra.
In 2014, the top court had banned Jallikattu, bull races and bullock-cart races across the country. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had amended the Act to allow regulated bull races and Jallikattu.